- Stories are all around us. They are what keep us moving, make us feel alive, and inspire us. Our appetite for stories is a reflection of the basic human need to understand patterns of life and get information across— not merely as an intellectual exercise but as a personal and emotional experience.
Stories are the way to reach out to people and emotionally connect. Yet most of us are used to the business-as-usual approach to communicating ideas, looking at the umpteenth power-point bullet list or word document.
We often build presentations that we ourselves wouldn’t want to sit through. Why do we do that?
How is it that we are such expert story consumers, but often such bad story-tellers? We can leave a movie theatre after just a couple of minutes, certain that the story will not appeal to us, but we often fail to recognize the weakness of our own approaches to communication. Why do we forget about the importance of telling a good story when it’s our turn on the stage?
What happens if we move beyond business-as-usual, and start building content that is engaging and powerful. What happens if we forget the pie charts and spreadsheets and instead make our point by harnessing the energy of the well-told story?
Mr Kabaghe, the owner and Managing Director of Klassic Kreations (the company I was placed in as a business support associate with Challenges Worldwide) knows the power of a good story. The first time I met him he turned an overview of the business into a compelling tale.
He presented the story of Klassic Kreations, and his journey from an artist selling paintings to the owner of a large furniture company. By the end we knew not only the history of Klassic Kreations but its character, principles and reason for existence. I went in there very attentive, keen to learn new business ideas but ended up realising how the power of a story is a profound one. It helps one connect with and move audiences, and it makes the message more memorable.
So, how do you go about constructing a story? There are some easy steps to get started. First, establish your starting point by asking yourself these basic questions: Who is the audience? What is your goal in telling your story? Are you persuading someone to invest in your company? Are you trying to gain buy-in for an idea among your co-workers? Are you trying to inspire people to support a cause, an individual, or save someone’s life?
So the next time you’re trying to make a point, whatever it may be, let’s remind ourselves of Mr Kabaghe’s example. Let’s work to turn a boring presentation into a powerful story, and make more meaningful connections with our intended audience.
As Maya Angelou, an American poet once said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And what’s the best way to influence the way people feel? The answer: By telling a compelling story. A good story has the power to delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate and challenge. It is, quite simply, the most powerful way to introduce an idea to the world. They help us understand and they imprint a picture on our minds. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.