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Lead With a Story

Kirjoitettu 05.07.16
Esseen kirjoittaja: John Blåfield
Kirjapisteet: 2
Kirja: Lead with a Story
Kirjan kirjoittaja: Paul Smith
Kategoriat: 4. Johtaminen, 4.2. Johjajan / valmentajan taidot ja työkalut, 4.5. Projektien johtaminen, 4.6. Strategiakirjat, 6.3. Brandi ja mielikuvien kehittämisen työkalut

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Lead With a Story

My interest towards storytelling sparked after i talked with Henry Vesin. I figured that there was something in storytelling to Henry because he talked about it so passionately and well also his Twitter nickname was @kertoja which means teller as in storyteller. Henry was also doing video filming and he did not need to convince me about the benefit of storytelling in videos and marketing. so after thinking for awhile i decided to read some books storytelling. I asked Valtteri Karjula who I knew was also interested in storytelling for some book recommendations on storytelling. Tarinan Valta by Juhana Torkki was the first book that he recommended. So i decided to read it. I did not get that book right away. When I was waiting for it I listened to Lead With a Story by Paul Smith. It seemed to fit in my situation as i had changed position from my company’s team leader to marketing-/ customer relationship leader and I was starting a content production services cald stories in finnish (tarinoilla.com)

What I already knew

The interesting part in reading Lead With a Story was to realise how much I had already done in the field of telling stories. I had told many stories to my team and by that formed visual images of what our team should do and what we could accomplish. Best example is that I insisted that we made the end result of a project visual to us in our mind. Not as if telling a story of all the small details that we would do during the project. That would be plain stupid because most of the time you can’t plan everything ahead. I made the team think what succeeding would feel like. As if telling a story of heroes who come back after a dangerous adventure. A journey that tested their strength greatly but these heroes gave their all and made the best possible outcome. Of course i did not use a story of heroes but of us sitting in a circle in a training session. We would be looking at each other not saying a word and we would just burst to laughter because we all knew that we did something really great and it was due to our own effort. That story painted really vivid emotional picture in our heads of what succeeding would look like. It helped me to get people motivated.

There was also one other story that we told ourselves in one project to ensure the quality of end result. We had never done anything like this project so we did not know how the end result should look like. The project was this kind of big event with big customer companies and a big show. We decided to look back on when we had been attending to similar events. We told stories of what was good and what was bad in those events. After a while we had decided on one event that to us seemed like it had succeeded really well. We did not need to tell mutch stories of that event because we all had experienced it. We all had been a part of the story so we only needed to refer to that event. So what we did with that mental picture is interesting. We kind of imagined our event and decided that our event should be at least as awesome as the event that we had experienced. And because of that story the end results were really amazing. Everyone was working really hard for achieving the visual image of success that the stories painted in our heads.

How to start

You don’t need to be a master storyteller to tell stories. The only thing you need is an audience and a story that fits the situation. How do you find stories to tell? Well the world is full of stories. You can find good stories from books, newspapers, from your own experience or by asking and listening for other people’s stories. If you think you found a good story it is a good idea to write it downs so you can remember it better and get back to it if you forgot some details from it.

If you are a new storyteller and are planning on using it as a leading tool it is a good idea to ask from the people that you are telling the story for permission. Otherwise if the listeners are not familiar with you telling stories you can really make them wonder that what the hell are you telling stories when we are talking about work related stuff. Ask something like ”Hey I got a good story which could be beneficial in this situation, would you mind if I tell it.”

Basic storytelling structure

There are many story structures like for example The Hero’s Journey. Those structures are not that important in the beginning of your journey as a storyteller. There is still on storytelling structure in Lead With a Story book. The structure is caled CAR. It is an acronym for Context, Action and Result. As simple as you can get with your story you should at least haw CAR in your story.

Context holds in all the needed background information like when and where does this story take place, who is your main character and what does that main character want to achieve and what is preventing the main character from achieving it. Of course it helps you get a message across if your character is relatable for the listener. If you are a good storyteller you should also have some kind of hook to get the listener interested.

Action is basically the part where all the actions happens. What happens to the main character and what does he do. Maybe a battle between main character and a villain?

Result means the end result. What kind of results does main characters actions have? If you want you can tell what was the story’s teaching but you have also other options. You can always leave out the part where you explain the teaching. You can also ask the audience to interpret the story and why they think you told it right now.

The end

Storytelling as a tool of leading is very beneficial. You can make people feel like they have experienced something even when they are sitting in a meeting. Stories are easy to relate and make communicating difficult things easier. With stories you can capture one’s attention and even make them feel emotions. In many cases when you are trying to have an influence on someone these are really beneficial tools to have. In the end leading is basically influencing someone to do something.
The end

Written by
John Blåfield
Videographer and a teamentrepreneur

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