On Storytelling

December 18th, 2012

The theme of my 2012 holiday video is storytelling. And it’s pretty funny, so if you haven’t yet, or even if you have, take a look.

Storytelling is actually a critical component of communications in general and business communications specifically.

And much has been written recently about storytelling in a business context. In a LinkedIn series, Daniel Goleman, of Emotional Intelligence fame, has a series excerpting conversations with developmental psychologist great Howard Gardner.

This title says it all: “Effective leaders are effective storytellers.” As Goleman recaps, “how and when leaders might use storytelling techniques to motivate and inspire.”

A later article, “Strategic storytelling,” won my heart because Gardner expounds on many of the same points I make with clients.

In discussing levers leaders can use to effectively leverage stories to inspire and motivate, naturally, he begins at the beginning: “First, it depends on who you are dealing with.”

In other words, knowing your audience is key. Now, where have I heard that before…?

This leading business mind also brings up a theme I’ve blogged about before: overcoming resistance.

“When you tell a story, the story is never an immaculate conception. Everybody has got many other stories in their mind, and those stories are often quite resistant to the story you want to tell,” Gardner says.

“Almost everybody – and I’m unfortunately a textbook example of that – spends too much time trying to convince you of the story that I want to tell, and not enough time thinking of all the reasons why you might be embracing a very different kind of story. The shrewdest mind-changers spend a lot of time trying to understand what the resistances are and how to deal with them.”


Great food for thought – perhaps the main course after the video appetizer?

Come on back for more on storytelling in future posts… and do leave your comments.


    • Abba said:
    • Deb Arnold’s work carries on the legacy of her grandfather, Len Arnold — a master story teller of yesteryear.


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