Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Storytelling in 3 simple steps

Read these three words:

Child. Rope. Rain. 

What happened in your mind when you read them? 

Did you see a child playing jump rope in the rain? 
Or did you see a child hiding outside, afraid to get a beating? 
Or perhaps something else...? 

Whatever you saw depends on your childhood, your personal nature and your current state of mind. But no matter what you saw, chances are extremely high that the beginning of a story was starting to form in your mind. 

In fact, you'd have to work really hard to NOT to create a story. That's because our brains are wired for stories. And not only that... We are constantly looking for coherence between bits of information. Nothing is just the way it is. Nothing is just: child, rope, rain. Everything is a story with meaning. Even when we sleep, our brains continue to fabricate the most amazing stories. 

The art of storytelling is very old and at the same time very new. More and more organisations start to understand the importance of embracing storytelling as a communication tool. Why? Because storytelling does something not many other things can do: it connects people at a deeper level. 

We all know great leaders are often great storytellers. They know how to change their message into a narrative and are able to truly connect with large groups of people. Their stories are engagement and teaching tools. And the best thing is: everyone can learn how to do this. 

Starting with these simple three 3 steps:

Step 1. Preparation, preparation, preparation

Some people seem to naturally master the art of storytelling. On every occasion they have a great, inspirational or funny story to tell. How do they do this? Writer Mark Twain once described it very strikingly: "A good improvised speech takes me about three weeks to prepare."

Storytellers have spent a lot of time building a 'database' of inspirational stories. Success stories, failures, challenges, team building stories, stories about love, friendship, sadness and consolation ... It takes time to prepare and think about these stories, but the reward is inspiring leadership.

Step 2. Live your story

The foundation of a good story is authenticity. A story does not need to be told, if it's true. If the storyteller does not include his audience in the story, because he's too busy recalling his next line and saying all the right words, he looses the connection. If he does not experience the story himself whilst sharing it, how can he ever expect his audience to connect with his message?

If the heart is connected, the structure becomes irrelevant. Rely on the power of your own story and give your audience the opportunity to imagine and understand it. 

Step 3. From conscious incompetence to unconscious competence

Storytelling is learning through living. If you want to develop your corporate storytelling skills you need to find the connection between your own story and the business of your work. By telling about the emotions of your own experiences, you can inspire, convince, comfort or reassure people. Practice linking these personal experiences to relevant topics within your organization.

In this storytelling learning process, you will go through the cycle of conscious incompetence to unconscious competence. Meaning: By 'doing it' over and over again, you will eventually make storytelling a second nature. At some point you will not even realize that you are telling a story. And neither will you listeners.

Want to learn more? 
Our 1 day storytelling workshop is the perfect step to enhance your storytelling competencies. This highly interactive workshop involves people in the content and enables them to play an active role in the story of your product, your service or your organisation. This workshop is provided by InterACT and Working Life Consultants. Contact us here for a quick quote.   

This is what our participants have to say: 

"The structure, open interaction and exercises are challenging and thoughtful - GREAT learnings!" 
David Izzard- SMS Rental

"This is a really interactive course providing a lot of learning by doing. Trainer and role play actor compliment each other really well."  
Rupen Kotecha - WA Leaders

"Thanks for the honest feedback. Great mix of interaction and theory." 
Marco Bense - Sandover Pinder

"I gained a great deal and this was truly out of my comfort zone..which is GOOD!" 
Heather Wallace - Nomad Creative