Monday, August 18, 2008

Storytelling


Everyone loves a great story. We internalize and remember stories. If you can become a great storyteller, you will be able to use its power to enhance the quality of your life, career and community.

An effective form of communication is teaching lessons through stories. Because we all know that people enjoy to be engaged by an interesting story, great leaders must have the ability to tell personal stories to gain trust amongst their teams, to validate their points and to connect the dots based on previous experiences.

Storytelling (with a purpose) can get results that other modes of communication can’t. It is a great way to pass on information to someone while keeping them engaged.

The great thing about this is that everyone is already a storyteller. We start learning to tell stories and listen to stories at the age of two, and spend the rest of our lives telling stories. Storytelling is so pervasive that we are as unconscious of it as we are of the air we breathe. It is something we know already how to do. Though we all tell stories all the time, we are often unaware of it. Once we realize what are doing, we can all learn not only to become better storytellers but also to use storytelling to better our personal and professional lives.

We were at a Power Within seminar last year where there were intelligent and powerful people presenting all weekend. It wasn't until Frank Abagnal (from the book "Catch Me If You Can") stood up at the podium in front of a group of over 300 people and told his life story that I realized the power a story really has. The entire room was in awe and engaged the entire time from when he first spoke to when he said his final words. It was an amazing power that we felt that overcame the entire room and to this day forward, the lessons he spoke about will be the lessons I will always remember from that weekend.

So next time you are with your family, friends, or staff in the workplace, remember to tell them a story if you want them to be engaged and motivated.

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