Six Top Tips On How To Use Corporate Storytelling
You are convinced that storytelling in business can be a powerful tool but are unsure as to how this tool can be used most effectively? We share six top tips to help you make the most of corporate storytelling:
1. ASCERTAIN AUDIENCE
Identifying your audience is of paramount importance if you aim to persuade them one way or another. In order to persuade (or to have any other desired effect) the corporate storytelling needs to be tailored to the specific audience. When preparing a story make sure that it will speak to the inspirations and values of your audience. Tell the story based on the interest of the listeners in order to get the desired response from them.
2. DRAMATIC ARC
Behind every good story is a solid structure. This is also known as the dramatic arc and typically contains five key components: The beginning of the story, also known as the exposition, serves as an introduction. Introduce the characters and sketch their milieu. The rising action follows the exposition and usually includes some dilemma or challenge that the characters must overcome. Next, there is the climax. Here the story reaches a tipping point where tensions are at their highest. Then comes the falling action. The falling action helps to de-escalate the tension. Finally, the dramatic arc finishes with the resolution of the story. This is where loose ends are tied up. So, before you begin writing a story first work on its outline by using the dramatic arc as your formula or tool for mapping the story.
3. EMBRACE EMOTIONS
Carefully interlace emotions with factual details in your corporate storytelling. For example, reveal how your company satisfied a client’s particular needs by building a storyline around a real client. Along the way show the client’s despair as he/she had a dilemma and did not know where to turn. Highlight potential doubts that the client had and then focus on his / her delight when finding the perfect solution in your product/service. These are the types of emotional injections that make a story impressive. Added emotion engages an audience more profoundly and will significantly affect their decision-making.
4. PRAISE YOUR PRODUCTS
When it comes to corporate storytelling utilized for sales purposes, think of the strengths of your product/service and build a simple story around those strengths, from an end user’s perspective. You could contrast your product/service with those of competitors’, highlighting their weaknesses in comparison with your strengths. Keep that dramatic arc in mind! Your client may face a dilemma that only your product/service can disentangle!
5. BE CONCISE
Business stories should be short and to the point. You definitely do not want long monologues! Anything beyond five minutes becomes risky. Three minutes is ideal. If the story is in the form of an explainer video, try to keep it about two minutes long. Make it a vivid story but definitely keep in mind that details shouldn’t be excessive. Excessive details make a business story unnecessarily long and distract the target audience from the intended message that the story aims to convey. So, keep it concise!
6. COLLECT STORIES
Build a collection of stories. How? Pay attention to the stories of employees and also to those of clients. The challenges they face and how they overcame challenges can make great stories. Real-life stories can be very valuable! So make a conscious effort to remember them – store them in your story bank for when you need them. Use them to engage, encourage and convince target audiences. Also, read books on the art of storytelling and specifically books on corporate storytelling (e.g. that of experts like Steve Denning and Paul Smith.)
Successful companies recognize the importance of storytelling and put in substantial effort to give corporate storytelling significant attention. Some appoint high-level corporate storytellers to create and share relevant stories. (Some assign corporate storytellers to senior executives!) Some provide employees with short seminars to teach presentation and storytelling skills. Others even hire movie directors to teach executives how to lead better with storytelling. Why go through all this effort? Because storytelling has an important place in the corporate world. Embrace it and see how it can benefit your company too!