Beth Comstock

Lead Through Stories

Story tellingThere are two ways to share knowledge; you can push information out to people, or you can pull people in with stories. Whether you are speaking to hundreds or coaching one person, if you want your message to resonate, if you want the listeners to take action, tell it with stories.

In his book, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, Jonathan Gottschall takes a scientific look at storytelling and says, “Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” This is how we learn.

Why are stories so important in leadership? Stories paint pictures. Stories connect facts. Stories bring success.

Stories paint pictures

The beginning of every successful project, team, or company is a picture of what it looks like when it is done, built, or running. Leaders paint the picture of success so their team has hope for the future. The best way to do this is through stories that describe what the future will look like when you get there.

Great stories come from great storytellers. One of the best was Walt Disney who said,

“That’s what we storytellers do…We install hope again and again and again.”

Stories connect facts

Some say we are on data overload in business today. We have enough facts to make every decision that is possible – several times over. The challenge is in connecting all those facts in a way that leads to the right answer for the right question. Stories can do that. Leaders need to weave the facts together so their team can see how it all connects.

“Storytelling is about connecting to other people and helping them see what you see.” – Michael Margolis, CEO and founder of Get Storied

Stories bring success

No matter what business you are in, your product has to sell for you to be successful. Sales happen when the customer can see themselves benefiting from what you offer. This only happens when the story you tell helps the customer see the benefit of using your product. In sales it is said that, “You sell the benefit, not the feature.”

“You can’t sell anything if you can’t tell anything.” – Beth Comstock, leads GE Business Innovations

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