Do you ever notice how infatuated we get by stories? People binge stories. Think gossip, Netflix, internet clickbait. Think America’s Got Talent, The Voice, The Bachelorette (Yes, it’s still on), American Ninja Warrior, and every other reality show that connects you to participants via story.
The same thing happens with a story inside your company. Just like shows can connect you to individuals, your company stories you tell connect your employees to people and actions.
Here are five reasons to tell more stories.
1.Stories create interest and emotional connection
American Ninja Warrior is a favorite in our house. It’s on the television way more than it should be. It might even be the replacement for Law and Order on all those channels. After watching ANW for the 50th time, I finally noticed how boring the actual show is. The part that makes you care is how they set up the individual runs with sixty to ninety-second back stories on the ninjas and then show you the girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, kids, cheering wildly. We are immediately in it for and with them. Your meetings and speeches are boring. Stories keep things interesting by adding emotion, humor, detail, authenticity, and realness that PowerPoint and data don’t.
2. Stories show what you value (or not)
Good or bad, when you share a story, people find clarity that leads to action. It’s easier to do or not to do because the story is a concrete example. It’s like when you reward behavior – that employee leans into that behavior more. “Ken, that was the perfect meeting. Thanks for managing it so well.” Miraculously, Ken will run more meetings that way with confidence. Like the feedback you give, the stories you tell show your team what you and your company values.
3. Stories bring clarity to fuzzy topics, concepts, and ideas
At the highest level of the company you talk at fifty-thousand feet and your team needs to be able to talk at ten thousand feet so your employees can land the plane. When concepts and programs are complex, stories can bring clarity. Always be able to answer those confused, furrowed brow “huh?” looks with a story.
4. Stories get retold
Is there a story in your family that is a favorite to get told over and over? How you or your parents met, those ever so memorable trips to the ER with your kids, Uncle Jeff and that time he … This works the same in your company. If you have a good story – it gets told WAY more often than the 1-page business plan does. The how or why the company started, your first client, the biggest client win story, how NOT to do the Christmas party. When there becomes an oral tradition in your company, and your stories passed onto others, you know you are winning. Make sure it’s the right kind of stories.
5. Stories reach people at a deeper level
I’m always surprised by the details and emotions that people pull from stories that I didn’t see or even intend. Stories pull people into an experience that is individual to them and reaches them at a deeper level. This personal connection can create rich conversations due to multiple perspectives and emotions.
What stories need do you need to tell?
What are the popular stories at your company? Are they the ones you want to be retold?