Let me ask you a question. Where do you find inspiration from? Movies, music, books, magazines, seminars, friends, family, co-workers? – Maybe from all of those places.

Let’s face it inspiration comes from stories that we hear from other people tell. How they beat the odds, achieved growth, or found a better way, it’s all in the story.You know storytelling has been around for hundreds of years. From the beginning of time, storytelling has been the means by which cultures and societies have preserved and celebrated their memories, passed on their values and belief systems, entertained, instructed and reported. Long before there were written records, storytellers taught through the oral tradition. It was true in the bush, it’s true in the boardroom and it’s true everywhere in between.In fact I think true leadership is the effective communication of the story. Our American culture seems to underestimate the power of storytelling. But think about how powerful a story can be when you’re in front of a client. Tom Peters says, stories are the red meat that meets our reasoning process. Stories give us permission to act, they are photographs of who we aspire to be, and they cause the most emotional responses. Stories are how we connect with people.Remember the movie, Amistad by Steven Spielberg. In the movie there was a trial taking place over the status of rebellious slaves. Representing the slaves was a black abolitionist lawyer played by Morgan Freeman. However Morgan was being advised by Anthony Hopkins who was playing former U.S. president John Quincy Adams. Freeman went to Hopkins asking for advice on how to prepare this very critical case in defending the slaves. Hopkins turned to Freeman and said, “early in my career as an attorney, I found out that he who has the best story wins. What’s your story?”Here are some tips on how to move people through storytelling:1. Don’t worry about your communication ability. We are all storytellers. It’s the way that humans communicate, store and pass on information. Each of us tells stories every day: about the horrible traffic jam on the way home; about the way the kids acted at the grocery last night; about the great movie we saw over the weekend.2. It is not necessary to tell them at the level of a professional. In fact it’s far more powerful to relate your story in a simple, down-to-earth manner.3. Don’t worry about memorizing a story. Storytelling isn’t about exact words. It’s about images, and emotions, and sharing those with your listeners. The trick to telling a story isn’t knowing every word that is written on the page. Rather, it is the feelings of those in the story. Why they do what they do, and sharing that knowledge and understanding with your listeners.4. And where should the content from these stories come from. Everywhere! Your experiences and relationships. They can be in the form of case studies, events that might have occurred with clients, employees, management, vendors or even the guy or gal on the street.5. For more information about how to effectively use storytelling read one of our previous Business Updates, “What’s Your Story” by going to what’s your story? C’mon get involved, inspire your coworkers. Storytelling is a fun way to educate, influence and inspire one another. It’s an opportunity for collaboration, and a great way to focus on professional development in a wholly interactive way.Clothing truth in the form of a story is a powerful way to get people to open their minds to the truth you carry. As someone once told me, “the naked truth sometimes must be dressed up to be seen.” New ideas need room to grow. Tell it like it is. But consider telling it in the form of a story.I hope that this “Business Update” has been helpful in assisting you to improve the performance of your organization. For more information on how the Small Business Advisory Network assists companies in improving their performance, please feel free to contact us at 310-320-8190 or email mark@markdeo.comMark Deo

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