My coach studies neuroscience and says there is clear evidence to support the power and value of using storytelling in business
As a business professional, you might think that data, numbers, and charts are the key drivers of success in the business world. However as stated by our career coach, while there is no denying the importance of quantitative metrics, an often-overlooked factor in business success is storytelling.
Listening to our career coach it’s easy to see that Storytelling is the art of conveying a message or information through a narrative. It is a powerful tool that can help businesses connect with their customers and employees, build relationships, and achieve their goals. In this blog, we will discuss the power of storytelling in business and how my coach studies neuroscience to back it up.
“Stories are a communal currency of humanity.”
– Tahir Shah
Storytelling is not a new concept; it has been a part of human communication for thousands of years. However, it has gained traction in the business world in recent years as companies have realized its value.
Storytelling is a way to communicate in a way that engages people emotionally and intellectually, creating a memorable experience. It allows businesses to convey complex ideas and concepts in a way that is easy to understand and relate to.
“The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.”
– Mary Catherine Bateson
Neuroscience has shown that stories are more effective
Research in neuroscience has shown that stories are more effective than facts and figures in influencing people’s attitudes and behaviors. As our career coach says, when we listen to a story, our brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This makes us more engaged, attentive, and motivated to act on the information presented in the story.
Storytelling engages multiple areas of the brain:
When we listen to a story, multiple areas of our brain are activated, including those involved in language processing, sensory perception, and emotion. This means that stories are more engaging and memorable than other forms of communication, such as facts and figures.
Storytelling triggers the release of oxytocin:
Oxytocin is a hormone that is associated with social bonding and trust. Research has shown that when we hear a story that resonates with us, our brains release oxytocin, which helps to build connections and trust with the storyteller.
Storytelling is more persuasive than logic and facts:
Research has shown that when we are presented with logical arguments and facts, only a small area of our brain is activated. However, when we hear a story, multiple areas of our brain are engaged, making it a more persuasive form of communication.
Stories are easier to remember than facts:
Studies have shown that people are more likely to remember information that is presented in the form of a story than information that is presented as a list of facts or statistics. This is because stories engage multiple areas of the brain and create a more memorable experience.
Storytelling can change our attitudes and behaviors:
Research has shown that when we hear a story that resonates with us, it can change our attitudes and behaviors. For example, stories that are designed to promote social change can be more effective than traditional forms of communication, such as advertising.
“The best way to make your audience remember your words is to weave them into a story.”
– John Kotter
Incorporating Storytelling into your professional life
Working with a career coach on incorporating storytelling into your professional life can be a valuable experience that can help you develop skills in communication, leadership, and personal branding. Here are some ways you can work with your career coach on this:
Define your personal brand:
Before you can tell your story, you need to know what your brand is. Your career coach can help you define your personal brand by identifying your unique skills, strengths, and values. Once you have a clear sense of your personal brand, you can use storytelling to communicate it to others.
Identify your key messages:
Once you have defined your personal brand, your career coach can help you identify your key messages – the ideas or themes that you want to communicate to others. By focusing on these key messages, you can craft a compelling story that resonates with your audience and reinforces your brand.
Practice your storytelling skills:
Storytelling is a skill that can be developed and honed over time. Your career coach can work with you to develop your storytelling skills by helping you craft compelling narratives, providing feedback on your delivery, and helping you practice telling your story in a variety of settings.
Incorporate storytelling into your professional life:
Once you have developed your storytelling skills, it’s important to start incorporating storytelling into your professional life. Your career coach can help you identify opportunities to tell your story, whether it’s in a job interview, a networking event, or a public speaking engagement.
Evaluate and adjust:
Finally, it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of your storytelling and make adjustments as needed. Your career coach can help you analyze the impact of your storytelling and make adjustments to your approach based on feedback and results.
Develop a storytelling strategy:
Your career coach can help you develop a strategic approach to using storytelling in your professional life.
This might involve identifying specific situations where storytelling can be effective (such as job interviews, client meetings, or presentations), and crafting tailored stories for each situation. Your career coach can also help you identify the specific goals you want to achieve through storytelling, such as building relationships, establishing credibility, or persuading others to take action.
Learn from other storytellers:
There are many great storytellers out there, and your career coach can help you learn from their examples. Whether it’s watching TED talks, listening to podcasts, or attending storytelling events, studying other storytellers can help you develop your own storytelling skills and find inspiration for your own stories.
Practice active listening:
Effective storytelling involves not only telling your own story, but also listening to the stories of others. Your career coach can help you develop active listening skills that will enable you to truly hear and understand the stories of others. By doing so, you’ll be able to build stronger relationships, establish trust, and find common ground with others.
Use storytelling to develop your leadership skills:
Storytelling can be a powerful tool for developing your leadership skills. Your career coach can help you use storytelling to inspire and motivate your team, communicate your vision, and build a strong culture. By using storytelling to lead, you’ll be able to build a more engaged, motivated, and effective team.
Measure the impact of your storytelling:
Finally, it’s important to measure the impact of your storytelling so that you can make adjustments and improve your approach over time. Your career coach can help you identify key metrics to track, such as engagement rates, conversion rates, or feedback from others. By tracking the impact of your storytelling, you’ll be able to refine your approach and achieve even better results.
Develop your storytelling style:
Everyone has a unique style of storytelling, and your career coach can help you develop yours. Whether it’s through the use of humor, emotion, or suspense, your career coach can help you identify the elements that make your stories compelling and memorable.
Craft compelling narratives:
A great story needs a strong narrative structure that engages the audience from beginning to end. Your career coach can help you develop your storytelling skills by helping you craft compelling narratives that capture the audience’s attention and keep them engaged.
Use storytelling to build your personal brand:
Your career coach can help you use storytelling to build your personal brand and establish yourself as an authority in your field. By crafting stories that highlight your unique skills and accomplishments, you can build a strong personal brand that sets you apart from others.
Use storytelling to enhance your networking:
Networking is an important part of building a successful career, and storytelling can be a powerful tool for making connections with others. Your career coach can help you use storytelling to break the ice, establish rapport, and build relationships with others in your industry.
Use storytelling to overcome obstacles:
Everyone faces challenges and obstacles in their career, and storytelling can be a powerful tool for overcoming them. Your career coach can help you develop stories that demonstrate your resilience, perseverance, and problem-solving skills, which can help you overcome obstacles and achieve your goals.
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
– Seth Godin
By studying the neuroscience behind storytelling, my career coach has shown me that there is clear evidence to support the use of storytelling in business.
Storytelling is a powerful tool for engaging and inspiring people in business and other settings. By tapping into our emotions and sensory experiences, storytelling can help us to remember and retain information, build trust and empathy, and create meaningful connections with others.
According to our career coach, if you’re looking to improve your communication and leadership skills, consider incorporating more storytelling into your repertoire. It is time for businesses to embrace this powerful tool and start using it to their advantage.
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Coaching 4 Companies – Your premier executive coaching service
We are a young, vibrant, and diverse executive career coaching group, with the operation registered in 2019, however, the formation was a 45-year career lifetime in preparation. During that period our founder Wayne Brown observed and worked with leaders of all levels in organizations across industries and cultures globally.
Based on that exposure, our company has intentionally set out to support those practicing the art and science of leadership – or as often referred to, “Executive Talent.” These are people who acknowledge that they are not experts. They are open to opportunities for continued growth and carry the desire for learning what is needed to become a success in today’s complexity and uncertainty.
To this end, we have purposely structured our company and engaged with associates in strategic global locations, so that we are able to provide the full suite of transformational executive career coaching, facilitation, and education support required.
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- Zak, P. J. (2015). “Why inspiring stories make us react: The neuroscience of narrative”. Cerebrum: The Dana Forum on Brain Science 2015: 1-11.
- Denning, S. (2004). “Telling tales”. Forbes 173(11): 108-110.
- Brewer, W. F., & Lichtenstein, E. (1982). “Stories are easy to remember: Arousal and elaboration as possible determinants”. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior 21(2): 109-120.
- Green, M. C., & Brock, T. C. (2000). “The role of transportation in the persuasiveness of public narratives”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79(5): 701-721.