Storytelling: What Is Storytelling In Business Communication
In 2018, Indian watch brand Titan launched a marketing campaign to promote its Raga collection. The advertisement, #FlauntYourFlaw conveyed a…
November 19, 2020 | 6 mins read
In 2018, Indian watch brand Titan launched a marketing campaign to promote its Raga collection. The advertisement, #FlauntYourFlaw conveyed a strong social message—every character was seen embracing their “flaws”. It covered everything from a mother’s scar from her C-section, a soldier’s battle wound of a soldier and even a ballet dancer’s blistered toes.
The #FlauntYourFlaw strategy is a great example of how storytelling can be an effective communication tool. The advertisement not only positions and establishes the brand uniquely but also builds an emotional connection with its viewers. After all, storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas in the world. Let’s see how stories help us connect and add meaning to our lives.
Before we unravel the art of storytelling, let’s understand the power of a good story. A well-crafted story has certain core elements—it adds emotions, engages readers and delivers key messages effectively. We’re captivated by stories because they have lessons to teach, knowledge to impart and boost our imagination.
Storytelling, as the name suggests, is the art of telling stories and engaging an audience. A storyteller conveys a message, information and/or knowledge in a way that stimulates our minds. A story makes us experience information, not just consume it. Furthermore, the art of storytelling isn’t confined to the context of verbal communication. Pictures and paintings can also depict information.
It’s a two-way interaction between a storyteller and their audience
It can be verbal, nonverbal (body language), written and/or visual
A listener or observer becomes a co-creator in storytelling because every individual interprets the story from their perspective
Storytelling goes beyond merely engaging and entertaining people. This interactive art of human expression has many advantages.
Many of us are sometimes confused by a new idea. Stories offer a way around it. They simplify complex information and consolidate abstract concepts that are difficult to understand. For example, teachers often use real-life instances or objects to explain mathematical problems to their students.
Stories are a universal language that brings people closer. Sharing and participation in a story can instill a sense of community, no matter how diverse the group of people. We respond to certain emotions similarly and that creates a sense of unity. Take support groups for example. Different people from different walks of life come together and talk about shared concerns or problems.
Since stories directly tap into our feelings; they have the power to inspire us. Oftentimes, we’re even motivated to take action and drive change as a result of a well-told story. For example, inspirational books are often the source of motivation for many individuals. Authors are successfully able to convince their readers about the importance of bringing a change in their lives.
Businesses solve problems by offering products and services that fulfill a need for a particular group of people. To explain what they’re selling, businesses need to communicate simply and effectively. This is why you see corporates use storytelling in business communication. The techniques they use to convey their particular brand voice and image. The Titan Raga ad is an excellent example to understand the influence of a good story by a brand.
The art of storytelling can be instrumental in driving your professional growth as well. Whether it comes to pitching new business ideas or interacting with your clients, storytelling will help you connect better with your audience. As managers and leaders, you can drive the organizational mission and vision more effectively. Powerful storytelling in business can get your team invested in a larger purpose and foster the appropriate workplace culture.
Business storytelling helps us maintain healthy relationships with our coworkers and extended connections. It allows us to be more collaborative and productive because there’s a foundation of trust and empathy. However, in many business cultures, the art of storytelling hasn’t been fully explored. To promote organizational goals, let’s see how you can use the power of storytelling in business environments.
We’ve all been part of meetings that seem never-ending! You can make your team meetings more compelling by using these simple methods of storytelling in business settings:
Start the meeting with a riddle or an activity. It’ll help others loosen up and activate their creative thinking skills.
Use past stories as examples to explain new ideas or strategies. For instance, if a marketing initiative was successful in the past, use that as an example to inspire your audience.
When it comes to online communication, storytelling can get slightly tricky. You must use social media platforms well or smartly because they are an extension of your brand. Here are some easy ways to ensure that your story is communicated effectively.
Identify your key message and audience
Make sure you post or story is relevant to your audience
Allow interactions or QnA (question-answer) sessions to engage with people
Reach out to personalities and influencers who can connect to your brand and audience
When you start to work on a new project or strategy, it’s crucial to get your team excited or energized. You get to define the goals and responsibilities of each contributor from scratch. The powerful art of storytelling can help you get your employees motivated. Here’s how you get your team to buy-in.
You may use personal anecdotes and connect your life goals with the organization’s mission. For example, you could tell your team how it’s been a life-long dream of yours to make a difference in society and the current project can help you achieve it.
Your audience will not be able to relate and empathize with the project’s objectives unless they understand the underlying reason. Discuss the pain points or the unresolved problems that’ll continue to exist without your project getting executed.
Convey what your project will try to accomplish soon. Define individual responsibilities and encourage team members to share their personal success stories. Meet regularly and exchange feedback so that everyone stays driven.
Just like other art forms, the art of storytelling can be mastered over time. Here’s how you can bid adieu to boring communication and convey your thoughts convincingly.
It’s important to understand who your story is meant for. You must understand your readers or audience before you go on to form a story. Do some research on who will benefit and respond the strongest to your stories. For example, if you’re developing a new technical product, you can create a list of buyer or user personas (mobile phone users).
No matter how short or long your story is, identify the core message you’re trying to convey. To help define your key purpose, summarize your story in a few words. This way, you can pinpoint the intention behind your story. For example, you can identify how your project is advocating for a social issue.
A CTA, or call-to-action, determines what action your audience should take after consuming the information you share with them. For example, you do a marketing campaign about raising funds for a social cause. You must indicate how your audience can contribute. Your CTA could be that you’re directing your viewers to a donation portal where they can contribute.
Decide what kind of story you’re communicating to your audience. Stories come in various formats and you decide the medium. Here are some ways to tell your story:
Written story (articles, blogs, books)
Spoken story (presentations, speeches, pitches)
Audio story (podcasts, songs)
Digital story (video, movies, posters)
Once you’ve fulfilled all the requirements for framing your story, go ahead and share it. The joy comes from sharing it with people who may get inspired and even share constructive feedback with you. The more mediums or channels of communication you use, the more involvement you can expect from people.
The best communicators are those who can build a lasting impression on others. Harappa Education’s Speaking Effectively course will teach you how to deliver ideas with precision, use empathy to connect with others and speak confidently. The PAM framework will guide you in defining your purpose, your audience and the message you communicate or share. Don’t just tell your stories, sell your stories!
Explore our Harappa Diaries section to know more about topics & skills related to the Communicate habit such as Effective Communication, the Process of Communication, Business Communication, Social Skills & Writing Skills.