Storytelling, the best way to get your message across

Storytelling, the best way to get your message across

Communication | Judette Coward-Puglisi

December 13, 2010

Quick fact, there is a huge difference between information and stories. The latter resonates and I’ve got the proof.

Information: Our mission at Tech X is to dominate the IT industry by developing innovative software solutions for multinationals offering them increased productivity and time saving strategies for their global workforce.

Story: Tech X was founded by geeks. We got off to a slow start in would you believe, the fax market. This was at a time when being first really mattered and the company lived on peanut butter and over the counter headache pills. Those were some really long days and nights. We really hit a wall when fthe ax became less prevalent in the work place so we kept thinking about “what could be the next big thing?” It was John who said software solution and the globalisation of the market really helped him to narrow his focus. So the first thing John did was…..

See what I mean, mission statements, powerpoint slides showing your current market share and revenues may have their role in your organisation but people only begin to understand your company when you begin to tell your story, and stories happen to be everywhere. Every product has one (We never thought we could get this on the shelf by Christmas and then we …). Every repair job has one (I was tightening the ring on the compressor when I noticed it had burnt out but the most surprising thing was the ..). Every sale has one (All it took was one email, when I sent it I prayed so hard because reaching that manager would have been the answer to…..)

The fact is we live in stories and breathe them. Most of our conversations are told in stories and they are a key to ensure that we understand the world around us. Stories are also a big step up from information. Author David Weinberg in the Clue train Manifesto writes that stories..

“Unlike information have a start and finish;

Talk about events and not conditions;

Imply a deep relationship characterized as unfolding, as if the end were present in the beginning;

Are about humans;

Do not pretend to offer the certainty that life will work in a particular way all the time;

Are told by the human voice, it maters who is telling them.”

How to apply this to your every day work world? Maybe you already are. When you are telling someone how you lost that account and won another, when you explain why the trade show was a disaster, when you’re telling a financial analyst how your industry got to be erratic as it is you’re already telling stories, You can’t help it. You’re human. Stories are how we make sense of things

Anything else is just information and we all know what happens with that.