Career Advice

Campus to Corporate Part 8: How to use storytelling to connect with people at work

Partha Sarathi Basu
Partha Sarathi Basu
Posted on 12 Apr 2022
15:48 PM
Storytelling is a powerful communication tool in today’s business world.

Storytelling is a powerful communication tool in today’s business world. Shutterstock

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Summary
Communication skills powered with storytelling helps upskill your ability to reach out to others in an engaging and meaningful way
Short, crisp and purpose-driven business stories foster team engagement, increase productivity and inspire people to action

In my last column, we spoke about why we should have a mentor from the start of our career. We concluded that while it is important for the mentor to take the engagement seriously and provide you with right mentorship, the responsibility on you is also quite high. Commit to this mentor-mentee relationship and embrace it with all positivity. You have a lot to learn and gain.

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Campus to Corporate, Part 7: Finding the right mentor and 6 benefits of mentorship
Campus to Corporate, Part 7: Finding the right mentor and 6 benefits of mentorship

Today we will dive into business storytelling. For this column, I thought of roping in Monika Tandon, a renowned storyteller, founder of Katha Pachisi – The Story Bank and the author of Connect Through Storytelling.

Here’s what Monika has to offer:

What is this buzz around storytelling all about?

Well, this isn’t something new. It’s very much a core of our existence. Since the beginning of mankind, we have been sharing stories, even before language came into existence. The cave paintings speak so much about the beliefs and the experiences during the hunting expeditions, and then as language originated, stories came into being.

Sharing stories comes very naturally to us. The tradition of gathering around a fire and exchanging stories for knowledge, for sharing beliefs and trading experiences still sounds very exciting and intriguing to us.

Storytelling might be an age-old practice but it has been embraced as a powerful communication tool in today’s business world. Entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders are harnessing the power of stories to share their thoughts, ideas and information.

Ideas need to be wrapped and articulated in a way that they can be effortlessly comprehended, so that they can persuade and motivate people. Stories establish a connection between people and ideas. They provide a relatable context which is easily understandable and inspire people to action.

“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic, they are ideally set up to understand stories,” said Robert Schank.

In today’s corporate world, the ability to tell stories has been identified as a powerful business practice. Purpose-driven stories help us to land our message in a relatable manner.

Storytelling helps us in structuring our thoughts and presenting them with the warmth of emotions by forming a connect with the people at our workplace. In today’s time the importance of communication by harnessing the power of stories and tools of storytelling to enrich the way we interact cannot be understated. Good communication skills always come handy in communicating our ideas, and stories help us to package those ideas in a meaningful way.

Why do we need to tell stories at work?

The way we communicate has evolved enormously because of the digital world we are living in and with the advent of social media. Within seconds the information is relayed across the globe, and the flip side of the advancements in the digital world is that the attention span of people has plummeted. Stories come with a flavour of novelty, a touch of emotions and as wisdom from experience. When we share a story which is integrated with the message or the information, the information we share becomes thought-provoking and this in turn catches the attention of the listeners. Stories with emotions bring the presentations to life. Numbers, facts or graphs on slides don’t move, inspire or motivate people to the extent as much as stories do. Stories connect with people!

What is storytelling at the workplace or in business and how can we use it in our business presentations?

Storytelling at the workplace is purpose-driven, which means sharing an anecdote or a story or an example to make our business point.

At the workplace, embracing storytelling as a powerful communication technique not only helps you to engage the listeners while you share your information, it also helps them to comprehend your message better and remember what you have said.

Here are 3 tips to use storytelling techniques while giving a presentation:

  1. Like every story has a title, share a headline statement – that is your core agenda before you start.
  2. Structure your presentation for clarity – with a clear beginning, middle and end for clarity of flow of events.
  3. Share relevant stories to create a common ground, making your point memorable to inspire people to action.

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Storytelling is not only about telling stories! It’s much more. It’s a crucial communication strategy. Leaders, educators, speakers and professionals from diverse backgrounds can leverage the power of stories and tools of storytelling to shine at their workplace.

Stories embed information into our memory. The human mind tends to forget facts and information but it doesn’t forget a story that inspires, educates and creates an experience.

Stories are how we relate to each other and form an emotional bond. Take your communication skills to the next level by learning the futuristic skill – storytelling.

As Monika concludes, communication skills powered with storytelling help upskill your ability to reach out to others in an engaging and meaningful way. Short, crisp and purpose-driven business stories foster team engagement, increase productivity and inspire people to action.

In the next article, I will share a few tips on EQ vs IQ.

Partha Sarathi Basu has worked in leadership positions at Coca-Cola, Whirlpool, IFB group, Tata group, Spicejet and AkzoNobel. He is currently associated with a leading consulting firm apart from being a leadership coach. He is the author of five books based on his corporate and life experiences. A die-hard Calcuttan, he now lives in Amsterdam.

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Last updated on 12 Apr 2022
15:48 PM
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