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Good Bosses Tell Stories, So Should You

Storytelling is a device used in every culture throughout history as a teaching tool. One of the oldest group of people in the world, the Australian Aboriginal people painted symbols on cave walls and used that, along with a combination of oral narration and music.

Today, storytelling is no longer reserved just for clergymen and social media influencers. In the business world, marketing executives use storytelling as a method to capture and enamour the public; in hopes of converting them to paying customers. Why should it stop there? 

Choose to lead and inspire your team with good stories. We’ve included an example of our favourite one below! 

Here are all the reasons to help convince you to use storytelling as a learning tool to engage and entertain your employees.

It Aligns and Engages Employees with Stagnant Information

Resonate, a startup based in Africa uses storytelling to align its employees with the company values. The reason? You can’t just write essential values down on a piece of paper and expect employees to both remember and utilize them for everyday life.

An easier way to imprint company values onto someone’s mind is through constant repetition and demonstration. A CEO or HR person who constantly repeats the company values can come off and sound like a nagging mother. One way to rectify this is through storytelling.

For instance, Company A chooses to present some positive findings (e.g. financial) to its employees in a direct, straight to the point manner. The employees will leave the meeting with just the stats in mind. Whilst Company B chooses to present the same findings accompanied by what it took to get the positive findings they received. As such, the employees of Company B will walk away with both the statistics and the strategies it needs, to receive such results.

Engaging employees aside, this method allows for the creation of new connections as well as trust and familiarity. It also builds a repertoire, which is something most millennial employees want from their workplace.

Telling stories, if engaging, is considered to be a universal method of teaching. Whether someone is a kinesthetic, verbal, or spatial learner, storytelling engages them. Not to mention how useful tool storytelling can be as a business skill. 

Four Business Storytelling Strategies for Employee Engagement:

1. Reveal Personal Flaws

The world’s favourite storyteller Disney recommends this tactic to employers who are having trouble with coming across as being approachable. To overcome this, the corporation recommends telling about a time in which you experienced failure and how you overcame it.

2. Teaching

Take storytelling back to its roots by using it as a tool to teach. You can describe a personal experience that you encountered, whether positive or negative, that taught you an important lesson.

3. Stories of Inspiration

Motivate and instill hope in your employees by sharing stories of inspiration and stories of resilience. Let your words influence and inspire the masses. 

4. The Founding Stories

Share the companies early years with your employees, to make them believe that they’re contributing to its history every day at work.

Storytelling is an essential aspect of human culture. We’re born storytellers, it is how we pass our learnings, our history, and lessons down to our successors. Even Facebook and Instagram call its fun feature, “stories”.

In the words of Robert Mckee, a storytelling consultant who has worked with major companies such as Microsoft and Nike, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today”.