Why Is Storytelling Important?
It's A Necessary Business Skill. Do it well and you'll surpass your competition. Tom Peters makes a memorable point about storytelling's importance especially during senior executive presentations:
MBAs -- Become Better Storytellers. John Byrne published What Business Really Thinks of the MBA in his Poets & Quants Website. The article summarizes insights from the 2010 book, Rethinking the MBA: Business Education at a Crossroads.
Analytical Smarts Aren't Enough. The authors cite storytelling as a necessary skill today's MBAs lack. Several executives (aka newly-minted MBAs' future employers) in the book say MBA presentation skills are a special weakness:
Students need to master the art of storytelling. They must learn to sell their ideas in a powerful, succinct way.
Students fail to deliver the important message up front. I’m often asked to review their five-minute pitch for a business plan, but after the first minute they still haven’t given me a reason to listen for the next four. I’m looking for clarity with accuracy, precision, and conciseness.
Stories Motivate Us For More
Read Valeria Maltoni, Author of Conversation Agent Blog. Valeria ALWAYS writes thought-provoking, well-researched, passionate posts. She tells stories brilliantly.
And, she leaves us wanting more.
She stood next to the podium and started reading from Gustav and the Goldfish, a book written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss in 1950 as part of his long-running series of children stories for redbook. We all sat there in rapt attention -- the bigger the fish got, the more we leaned forward in anticipation.
Ann Handley is more than a writer and Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs: She's a storyteller.
- Grab your attention from the start
- Drive you to read more
- Make the reading experience memorable
Stories Makes Your Message Stick
Here are their six principles of successful ideas:
S = Simplicity. Strip an idea down to its core. Relentlessly prioritize.
U = Unexpectedness. Be counter-intuitive, use surprise, and generate interest and curiosity.
C = Concrete. Paint a mental picture using human actions or sensory information.
C = Credible. Cite outside authorities using vivid details (i.e., "Where's the Beef?")
E = Emotional. Make people feel something. People care about people, not numbers.
S = Stories. Stories drive action through stimulation and inspiration.
Chip Heath explains the principle of simplicity in the following video. Note: There's a short advertisement at the start.
Notice how he uses the SUCCESs principles especially storytelling:
Data, Facts, and Analysis Aren't Enough. Peter Guber, former chairman of Sony Pictures and current CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, published a book earlier this year: Tell to Win -- Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Storytelling. Fast Company interviewed him in this article, Storytelling Your Way to Success.
Here's Guber's view on how storytelling impacted the successes and failures in his life:
I realized that the secret sauce to success is the ability to take facts, bullet points, and data and orchestrate them into an emotional offering so that your audience metabolizes them and then the information becomes resonant, memorable, and actionable.
The Best Story Wins. That's timeless Tom Peters' wisdom. Telling a simple story when describing a complex solution is challenging. It's a highly sought after skill.
I work in a professional services firm that addresses complicated problems. And, the solutions are never easy to execute. Plus, the solutions contain multiple components that can be difficult to explain.
A Differentiating Opportunity. Untangling the complexity and simplifying the message are the differentiating opportunity. That's how storytelling differentiates your organization. If you're the storyteller (or the person charged with creating the story), take advantage of the opportunity to differentiate your personal brand.
What's YOUR story?
Tony Faustino is a marketing and corporate strategist. He writes about how The Internet reinvents marketing strategy for organizations and individuals in his marketing strategy blog, Social Media ReInvention. Follow his tweets @tonyfaustino or circle him on Google+.