The 4 Key Components of Effective Business Storytelling
From sitting around the campfire to sitting around the boardroom, humans have been storytelling for thousands of years. Today, storytelling is essential in business. Whether you are pitching an idea to an investor or simply giving a progress report in a Monday morning meeting – you are telling a story. Here are 4 essential components to effective storytelling in business:
Providing context is the first step when storytelling. Context impacts the interpretation of your story. Context includes:
- Characters’ Objective
Context is key when making business decisions. Regulations, fiscal period, competitive landscape, etc. all impact the course of action.
Think of the best storytellers in business– Nike’s “Just Do It” commercials, Steve Jobs on stage at Apple, Gary Vaynerchuck’s motivational keynotes. All of these storytellers tap into our emotions. Emotions inspire the audience to act. How can you make your story emotionally powerful? Make connections to relatable experiences that unite your audience.
Data as Support
Research indicates data should not be used while storytelling. It forces the brains to jump between emotional and analytical, diluting effectiveness. I know it is counter intuitive, but the data supports the claim! Hence, the catch 22. Use data to support your narrative. If you face questions from your audience, have the data ready. Use data like salt – to the taste of your audience.
“In God we trust. All others bring data.”
Every story should end with a resolution. What actions were taken to achieve the objective? What actions should be taken to replicate the result or achieve a different outcome? All business stories should drive action in an effort to improve performance. Stories that don’t result in action belong on Netflix, not in the boardroom.
By Spencer Sobczak – Data Storyteller at Theia