Story Telling in Business Communication and Strategy

“Storytelling is the chief weapon in the arsenal of leaders”  Noel Tichey

Human beings have been communicating with each other through storytelling since we lived in caves and sat around campfires exchanging tales. What is new today about the art of telling stories is the purposeful use of narrative to achieve a practical outcome with an individual, a community, or an organisation.

How do you take facts and make them into a story so that people understand and remember? How do you decide what kind of story to tell?  And how long?

Talk to us – we have years of experience in crafting stories for business.

Few of us would prefer to receive information through bald facts, figures and Power Point slides alone – they are made more real when told dynamically or through a narrative.

We are surrounded by so much information and it is becoming increasingly difficult to absorb this deluge of numbers, facts, concepts, figures and so on. However, the key to disseminating information effectively is in presenting it in a way that will engage people and catch their attention.

Storytelling can have a huge impact in the business arena, where persuasion is centre stage as the focus for any company. Whether you are selling a product to customers, or selling a new idea or plan of action to employees, or a board of directors, or signing a contract with a partner or client, a story may just give an extra edge while driving home a point.

Featured in the June 2003 issue of the Harvard Business Review is an interview with Robert McKee, one of the most renowned Hollywood screenwriters, titled “Storytelling That Moves People.” In the interview McKee highlights the power of stories and how CEOs and other executives can effectively use them.

One of the main reasons he believes CEOs should use storytelling is because a huge part of their job is to guide and motivate their employees. The way to do this is by “engaging their emotions”. The usual approach most corporate leaders take is what McKee calls an “intellectual process”, which most executives are trained in and conventionally use.

We are all familiar with dry Power Point presentations that flash by with a list of numbers and graphs. According to McKee, if one does manage to persuade one’s employees in this way then, “you’ve done so only on an intellectual basis. That’s not good enough, because people are not inspired to act by reason alone. He suggests creating scenarios of possible future events and weaving these into a story.

If you have ever been inspired by a leader or speaker using anecdotes to illustrate a dry point, you will know that he is right.

Related Sessions:

Team Storytelling; Presence and Impact; Storytelling for Leaders; The Art of Storytelling; Communication Skills; Personal Leadership


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We use Storytelling throughout our strategy process and find it to be a key way to engage our people in the journey our business is taking.
David Brennan MD  Leaseplan Great Britain