Using the power of storytelling to connect

storyA recent article in the Wall Street Journal caught my attention. In “Foreign Entrepreneurs Learn Art of the American Pitch,” author Cecilie Rohwedder writes about how business executives, especially foreign ones, tend to underestimate the power of storytelling when attracting investors. Telling a good story is a great way to open a conversation and connect with listeners. It has tremendous power when training people to become better leaders, too. In our Affirmative Leadership process, we encourage the star performers to share their stories—their real, authentic stories—on what they need to do their best. There is a difference between the “official story” and the “real story.” Here, we want the real story, so that we can find out what really works. Each star performer is likely to see “best” differently, which is great because it gives us insight into what “best” means. As participants share their real stories, we record them and project them on a screen. Their words are recorded very literally; if we don’t capture the essence of what participants mean, we ask them to correct us and make sure that we get their words just right. When are able to capture the real story of how effective leaders lead, we can then transfer that expertise to others. These stories are increasingly valuable in training others to become better leaders because they are richer in content and have a more direct connection to performance. They can also be used to motivate and sustain change, effectively connecting the power of storytelling to lasting impact.]]>

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