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Article from Harvard Business Publishing

To add storytelling to your leaders’ “influence arsenal,” you need to do two things: 

  1. Create a storytelling culture so that learning is happening all the time (whether people realise it or not), and 
  2. Explicitly incorporate storytelling into your formal learning programs. 

Many people in business think of stories purely as a branding device or marketing tool. They understand that stories grab the attention of their readers and help forge an emotional connection to a product or service. But organisations that rely on storytelling simply to market their wares are missing out on what stories can do within their organisations. Stories can serve many purposes, from the purely transactional to the transcendent. In both formal and informal settings, stories can be used to: 
Establish leadership presence: Even in large distributed organisations, stories told through virtual meetings or videos help the workforce get to know those in charge. This leads to more trusted and authentic connections. 
Build culture: Stories that provide examples of culture in action translate the words from the mission statement into something tangible. 
Capture and share knowledge: What really happened along the way to closing the “big deal” that doesn’t appear in your CRM? O
Manage change: The implications of organisational change are difficult to grasp in the abstract. Stories make the abstract concrete and provide risk-free avenues to process and integrate change.
Develop staff and mentor individuals: We all can learn from hearing about the challenges our leaders have faced and the mistakes they made along the way to overcoming them. 
Build teams: Honest storytelling helps team members get to know and understand each other better. This fosters an environment of sharing, mutuality, and trust. 
Sell an idea: What better way to sell an idea than to describe a road map for action, from idea to implementation? These applications (and others) take place throughout the learning process, in both formal and informal settings.

Get some storytelling tips from Leigh Chattington, APAC Head of Learning and Development, Pinsent Masons using the Storytelling Toolkit. In this one hour on-demand webcast Leigh shares how:

Storytelling has been around for thousands of years and anyone can do it. In the webinar Leigh outlines how:

  • Many opportunities exist throughout the day/week where stories can help professionals build trust and influence 
  • A great story should strive to include four basic elements. Clarity. Brevity. Levity. Charity. 
  • Good storytellers grab attention and gain commitment by using structure and engagement techniques

CPD: Professional Skills

Leigh Chattington
Pinsent Masons