Storytelling is important in leadership because you cannot simply tell your team members to be motivated, be more creative or start being more invested in their job.
We use stories to learn, grow, and share our experiences with others. As a leader, you need to be able to use storytelling as a tool to connect people to the organization’s vision. Storytelling is your power to persuade.
Here are five elements to turn a good story into a great story:
1. Know your audience.
When you know who you’re talking to, you’re able to adjust your story for a better emotional response. It’s important to truly understand your audience – their emotional triggers and what type of stories they are drawn to – to be able to bring them into the story to form an emotional connection.
2. Be authentic.
A great storyteller knows their deepest values and reveals them to their audience with honesty and candor. If you are seeking change within your team, you must embody this change. Being authentic involves sharing and showing emotion to your audience. By exposing your vulnerability, you’re allowing the audience to identify with you, and be moved into action.
3. Get personal.
Each of us has a story to tell that can move others. Share your passion and motivation with your team members – what gets you up in the morning and why you continue to fight for your organization’s vision. Communicating who you are reveals your values as a leader to create trust and invite collaboration.
4. Powerful stories touch emotions.
When we experience values emotionally, it moves us to act. If you are facilitating change or transformation, paint a compelling picture and engage the hearts of you team members. People may know what you want them to do but if they are not emotionally engaged they won’t do it. Logic alone cannot persuade a person to act.
5. Let your audience uncover their own meanings.
As a storyteller, you have the responsibility to lead the audience through the story. But don’t tell the audience what the ending of the story is. Your job is to evoke powerful emotions and share ownership of the story with your audience that they leave motivated to act. Give them the space to discover the meaning of the story, realize what’s there for them to learn, and own what they need to do.