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How Storytelling Is A Powerful Communications Weapon

Written by: Heather Wright Schlichting, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


How do you ensure your team understands, remembers, and most importantly, believes in your corporate goals? How are you breaking through all the noise to effectively broadcast your message? Storytelling is a powerful employee engagement tool that, if done right, will empower your team.

Stories get our brains moving and get people excited. Good stories compel people to change. They allow listeners to turn the story into their own, one that they can relate to.

Leaders should be your storytellers

Good leaders share captivating stories that compel their audience to develop an emotional connection. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the most charismatic and inspirational speakers of the 20th century, spearheaded the March on Washington in August 1963, where more than 200,000 people attended. This historical event was the setting for his famous “I have a dream” speech. This speech is still remembered as a powerful demonstration of his ability to motivate others to end racism and call for civil and economic rights for all Americans.

Stories help us make sense of organizations. And who better to tell these stories than that organization’s leader. Howard Schultz’s many stories about his trip to Italy to learn how to brew the perfect espresso is the reason many of his employees at Starbucks are passionate about the company’s mission.

When choosing your storyteller, make sure you choose a presenter that your audience trusts. The audience members' feelings about a story are directly correlated to their feelings towards the presenter. Your CEO should be your main storyteller, but if they are not charismatic or inspirational, coach them or find another leader who can share your message in a compelling way.

What makes a good story?

When determining the story that a leader wants to share, consider the following points to make it the most effective:

Familiarity stories that are familiar to the audience are more powerful than those that are not. Incorporate references to pop culture, including nods to famous movies, books, or characters.

Relatability when listeners can relate to and identify with a story, they are more likely to be persuaded.

Immersion the more readers that submerge themselves in a story, the more likely they are to be affected.

Keep it simple if it doesn’t serve the narrative, it shouldn’t be in the story. Too much chatter muddies the message. It should be memorable to rise above the noise.

Perception stories are most persuasive when your audience works out the meaning for themselves.

Drama stories that captivate have dramatic development and entice emotions.

The power of why

Once a leader has determined a story that accomplishes their goal, they must answer why they are giving their speech by explaining:

  1. Why are we doing this project or initiative?

  2. If organizational changes are happening, why are these changes happening?

  3. Why are these changes important, and how will they affect employees and customers?

Storytelling informs, influences, and becomes ingrained in people’s minds. When leaders share a story, they establish credibility and authenticity through the tales that they are living. When they believe deeply in them, their stories resonate and transform their audience into believing them too.

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Heather Wright Schlichting, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Heather Wright Schlichting, a PR pro and hired pen, is always looking for the next great story to tell. She is passionate about telling an organization's story that connects with its stakeholders in a meaningful way that also drives results. Her digital marketing firm, The Write Blend, has managed media relations for a global solo flight to promote women in aviation, a rock-n-roll employee engagement campaign for a Fortune 500 company, and publicity for a national safety spokesperson. She founded Artz on the Move, a nonprofit to build social awareness, confidence, and self-esteem in children through the practice of social dance. A fierce advocate of nonprofits, she authored the book Gap Warriors: Nonprofits Serving Unmet Needs and the Women Who Lead Them. Because approximately 30% of nonprofits fail to exist after 10 years, the book highlights women who have beaten the odds! Not only are they fervent visionaries, but they are exceptional leaders who inspire their volunteers, supporters, and communities to fill a gap that larger nonprofits do not by meeting the needs of the underserved.



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