Stories are sticky and remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone, according to cognitive psychologists. It should come as no surprise that smart professionals use business storytelling to drive change in their organizations.
Ron Tsang, author of the Amazon best-selling book From Presentation to Standing Ovation, urges leaders from all walks of life to take advantage of the power of storytelling to improve their job performance and further their careers.
“Decision makers may first decide with their emotions, and then rationalize with logic,” he explains. “As a result, data alone may not be enough for you to get buy-in from key stakeholders.”
Effective storytelling can help professionals quickly share their vision, inspire bold action, and even build trust, Ron explains, but there is a formula to crafting effective narratives.
“A GPS helps you reach your destination more quickly,” Ron shares. “My storytelling methodology allows you to craft your stories more quickly.”
Here are the five most common business stories:
- Origin Story
- Product or Service Story
- Customer or Stakeholder Story
- Brand Story
- Inspirational Story
“Full stories, or journeys, include a clear beginning, middle, and end,” Ron says. “On the other hand, anecdotes could simply be a slice of life, without any formal narrative structure.”
An effective anecdote may include these six Cs:
To describe a complete journey, ensure that it includes these 10 Cs:
Professionals may wonder if they have time to tell a complete story, especially during a status update or brief presentation. The answer is “yes,” according to Ron.
“Stories usually involve a transformation which can be quickly described as before and after,” he explains. “Even a short before and after narrative can show your audience a new perspective or provide a new possibility.”
However, Ron warns that stories may be less effective if they are missing one or more Cs from his storytelling methodology. “For example, business stories must connect to a relevant message or a key takeaway for your audience,” he says. “Otherwise, your stakeholders will wonder: what was the point?”
Ron likes to quote this Indian proverb that clearly illustrates the benefits of effective storytelling: “Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”