Do you want to change your impact in business conversations? You get why you should use business storytelling . Now you just need to get started. Here’s the first step.
Business Storytelling Building Blocks.
You’re ready to move to the next level – the building blocks of a story. There is no hard and fast rule about storytelling, you need to use what works. But if you’re like me, you need to start with a formula before you can get all creative and improvise.
These are the eight elements I’ve observed in business storytelling. The order isn’t necessarily how you will construct the story, and are certainly not a rigid structure for telling the story. However, it is important to consider each element when crafting your message in story form.
Before we begin, it’s important to acknowledge these business storytelling elements may differ from others you’ve encountered. Because we are looking at storytelling elements in the context of business, they need to be efficient and effective.
One more important point about storytelling in business, which may be controversial for some: when it comes to storytelling –business is personal. The cliché ‘it’s business, it’s not personal,’ does not apply here. These stories must be personal if you are going to connect to one another.
We connect on a human level, on an emotional level, on a personal level. Business is personal when it comes to storytelling. If you’re not willing to accept this premise, then storytelling may not be the approach for you.
Overview of the 8 Business Storytelling Elements.
The primary story objective is to arouse emotions and energy that compels your listeners into action. Follow these elements to craft a compelling story that changes the world -or at least your part of it.
1. THE SCENE.
In storytelling, scene is your context. It gives your story meaning and puts your audience in the middle of the action. If you want to move your audience and connect to them in an emotional way (and you should) you need to create a vivid, believable scene into which they can step.
2. THE CHARACTERS.
The characters in your business stories include anyone relevant to the action. When selecting your character remember your audience needs to either relate to them personally or know someone who is like them. And remember…bonus points if you make your listener/audience the hero of your story!
3. THE QUEST.
Business is about solving problems. And stories about business should show how problems similar to the ones at hand, can be solved, by your listener.
4. THE DESTINATION.
Without a destination, your journey has no purpose. For your audience to invest in the story they need a clear desirable picture of what life will be like at the end of the journey.
5. THE OBSTACLE.
Include the obstacles and struggles that must overcome in order to reach the destination. The obstacle you identify must represent something believable to your audience and feel as if it were their own conflict.
6. THE LESSON.
The lesson is what stays with your audience longer than the story itself. It’s what you want your audience to learn and apply to future experiences. The lesson is your message.
7. THE CONNECTION.
It’s time to anchor your lesson into the brains of your audience. Connect the dots from the story you told and the lesson learned to the audience’s mind and their current or future actions.
8. THE ACTION.
Be clear at the onset what you want your audience to do and make sure your story supports that action. At the end of your story, invite your audience to take immediate action with simple, clear, and brief direction.
With these elements, you have the power to create change.
This is an excerpt from book: Everyday Storytelling for Success. In the book and workbook you’ll explore each of these elements in more detail and craft your own core stories, matching them to the right business situations.