Once leaders (or others) recognize the power of storytelling in successful communication, I am often asked how to get started in telling them.
This is a common question, but, with all due respect, I believe it is misguided, and the wrong question! We all tell stories — all day long … at the dinner table, around the coffee pot, on the phone. The first step is to realize you already know how to tell stories.
With that out of the way, I can answer the question people really should be asking — how can I get better at storytelling as a leader?
I’m glad you asked! Here are ideas to get you started:
Purposeful point. Remember you aren’t trying to become the best storyteller at the neighborhood party; you simply want to communicate as a leader. Make sure you know exactly why you are telling the story. Once you know why you are telling it, and you tell it with that point in mind, your story will immediately get better.
Practice. Practice in front of your dog, in front of a mirror, in your car, with your family. I don’t care where you practice, just practice! Practice can take many forms, but it must include saying the words out loud. Practice by thinking about your point, intentionally polishing your word choice, timing and the length. Keep it just long enough to make your point, and no longer.
Powerful Punchline. The punchline of a joke is the part where people laugh. The punchline of your story is the where you drive home the point you want to make.
This will get you started, and you can start right away.