‘People think in stories, not statistics.’ – Ariana Huffington
Whether you are trying to appeal to a consumer, a colleague, or a client, stories are an influential tool. People naturally listen, respond, and remember them (especially more than facts and stats). Stories are passed on again and again, and in business, they can be used to help drive you forward. Uri Hasses of Princeton, studied the brain activity of audiences as they listened to a speaker tell a story and the results showed that the speaker and the listener had very similar brain activity. Research suggests that stories can affect employee performance, by allowing them to think, feel, and respond the same way as a character in a story.
Sharing your own business stories can be an opportunity to inspire and relate to one another while rallying everyone around an idea. But which stories are going to help you grow? There are four types of stories we think your business needs to be sharing. We will outline them below to help your business come to life and come into the conversation.
The Founding Story
The most personal stories can sometimes have the greatest effects on connecting audiences to ideas. Telling your founding story has the potential to build your employee’s relationship to your purpose and brand. This is turn will ignite their passion for your business and release it into their workspace and beyond. An employee or a customer is likely to be much more loyal if they feel a connection to what your company stands for. Since this vital information usually rests in your founding story, we encourage you to share it!
The Case for Change
What defining moments have shaped your business? Are there stories behind any of those moments that could shed light on why things are the way they are? As leaders, it’s important to be transparent and share stories that may have happened during tough times. Share your history and your change. The more people understand and know, the more they will feel connected to you.
Where are you going? What goals are you working towards? Be confident in sharing these things and inviting others along. Why are you headed in this direction? Explain by telling a story of what’s pulling you there. Include your audience in your plans, the closer they feel to your goals, the closer you are to achieving them.
How are you getting to where you want to be? Instead of merely outlining your strategy, weave it into a narrative so it’s easier for others to grasp and embrace. Strategies tend to be a journey–they don’t happen overnight, which is a great reason it should be told in story form.
Telling stories is a part of being a leader. It shows you have the confidence to share your work and to include other people, two things that will fuel your success. Ensure you are telling the necessary stories and then work on the execution. Be genuine, enthusiastic, and transparent and you will slowly but surely be able to influence anyone.