As it has been quoted,
“The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values, and agenda of the entire generation that is to come.” – Steve Jobs
But, while storytelling is going through a “corporate renaissance”, it’s very much important to master the art of storytelling for business success. You need to be smart enough to blend the core components of the story for the business impact. Apart from empowering others, it’s all about thinking at a much deeper level and embarking on the next wave of storytelling. So, let’s have a quick look at the core components of a story, principal elements of storytelling, followed by the rules of smart storytelling. We will later dive deep into the ways through which you can make business storytelling awesome just as entrepreneurs do.
Core Components of a Storytelling
For a true story to create that ever lasting impact, the core components common to all stories are nothing but structural, elemental, authentic and strategic.
1. The structural component clearly states the overall flow of the story. While you put on your thinking cap to craft the beginning, middle and the end, it’s essential to compose your thoughts and make the first few minutes count. Right from the start, it’s you who have to capture the attention of the audience so that they really listen to you right till the end. When it’s time to wrap up the story, you should always leave behind something to ponder about and let the audience take action.
2. As for the elemental component, the story has elements along with a hero, challenge, journey, resolution, change and call to action. A hero is a character you would have to envision for walking the audience through the story from start to the end. Not just that, you, as a storyteller, have to imagine yourself to be a part of the audience and understand the pain points / challenges. This would help you present the solution and the change that you wish to perceive ahead.
3. For the authentic component, it’s vital to connect with the audience at an emotional level. As the audience is absorbed in the story, make sure that you stay on track and never let your thoughts get derailed. You may twist your story with great panache just to present your perspectives. But, it should actually seem authentic and not just about what you might have prepared half-heartedly or in a hurry.
4. Towards the end, the strategic component should spark the audience’s imagination, and cause them to relate to a situation in the story. Well, here’s where you have to think hard because you need to know what the audience might have gone through before approaching you. You, as a storyteller, should also possess the leadership skills to stir up motivation for them to act.
Related : 3 Easy Rules Of Empathy Into Leadership.
Principal Elements of Storytelling
Every story is based on some principle elements that the storyteller has to be taken care of. Just like a structure which is important for buildings, it is critical for stories as well. Once you’re confident that the structure of the building is solid, you really don’t have to bother much or have to anticipate unexpected incidents. This is the case as well with the story structure, which holds all the elements together, without being conscious about it. In fact, every story flows through three acts.
In the first act, you really introduce the audience to the setting of the story and try building up the interest through what would happen next. This act should be as short as possible, and the hook needs to work its magic, lest the audience may lose interest in the story.
In the subsequent act (second act), you should focus on all kinds of setbacks, moments of clarity, insights and several obstacles. As the second act draws to an end, you need to present the challenges head-on.
Afterwards, with the final and third act, you need to grab the opportunity to present a solution for the challenges and change the situation, usually for the better. This eventually leads to a gratifying ending and a resolution.
It may sound easy to plant a good hook to grab the attention of your audience. But, when you start off with the story, it’s actually difficult to use your leadership skills in the best way. So, the question arises: How do you create a strong hook? Even if you’re are clueless about a systematic way, you have to follow the 3 Cs: conflict, contrast and contradiction.
For the conflict, you could simply present the clash of forces, that doesn’t need to be a war or a natural calamity such as a famine. Rather, a conflict could be worked upon around the juxtaposition of two opposite qualities: active and passive, plentiful and meagre or heavy and light. As far as the contradiction is concerned, it may not be against the expectations of the audiences.
Challenge and Change
According to a creator of the most popular TV series, “super confident individuals with no problems and a great married life are certainly not good entertainers”. So, with regards to the challenges, it must create an interest which in turn, should be able to sustain the attention of the audience. With a central challenge in mind, you would not only be able to create a change but change the soul of the story. Moreover, if everything remains the same right till the end of the story, then you may not succeed in presenting the journey. Normally, audiences are eager to know what has happened in the story and what’s different at the end.
A Clear Theme
Whenever you are asked to introduce yourself in front of a panel, you are most likely to first utter the facts (where you hail from, your education credentials and work history) in a chronological order. But, unfortunately, no matter how well you narrate your experience along with the qualifications, this is not the same as telling a story. Rather, a story should have a theme and the listeners would only appreciate the theme when the events and the past experience is woven beautifully.
Continue Reading : 8 Ways to Make Business Storytelling Incredible
(The images used in the post are extracted from unsplash.com)