Dear coach, I`m frightened that if I use storytelling to introduce the next major project my senior team will laugh at me
Have you ever asked your career coach this question: Will my senior team laugh at me if I use storytelling to introduce my next major project?
As human beings, we are wired for storytelling. From the earliest days of human history, stories have been used to convey information, share knowledge, and inspire action. Today, storytelling remains a powerful tool for leaders to communicate their vision and inspire their teams.
“The human species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.”
– Mary Catherine Bateson
As a career coach, I completely understand your fears about introducing your next major project through storytelling. It can be daunting to put yourself out there and take a risk, especially in a professional setting where expectations can be high. It can be intimidating to step outside of the traditional presentation format and use a more creative approach to communication.
“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”
– Dale Carnegie
A highly effective way to engage and inspire your team
The truth is, storytelling can be a highly effective way to engage and inspire your team. Here are some tips for using storytelling to introduce your next major project and gaining the respect of your senior team:
Start with your audience in mind:
Before you begin crafting your story, take some time to think about who your audience is and what their interests and priorities are. Consider what they might be looking for in a new project, and what challenges or opportunities they might be facing. This will help you tailor your story to their needs and interests, and make it more likely that they will be receptive to your ideas.
Choose the right story:
Not all stories are created equal, and some will be more effective than others in a professional context. When selecting a story to introduce your project, look for one that is relevant, compelling, and memorable. It should also be aligned with your goals and objectives for the project, and help to illustrate why it is important and why your team should care.
Practice, practice, practice:
Once you have your story in mind, it’s important to practice telling it in a way that is clear, concise, and impactful. This might involve rehearsing in front of a mirror, recording yourself and listening back, or practicing with a trusted friend or colleague. The more you practice, the more confident and comfortable you will feel when it comes time to deliver your presentation.
One of the keys to successful storytelling is authenticity. Your story should be true to your own experiences and perspective and should come from a place of genuine passion and enthusiasm. Don’t be afraid to show your personality and share your own unique perspective, as this can help to make your story more relatable and memorable.
Use visuals and props:
In addition to telling a great story, it can be helpful to use visual aids and props to enhance your presentation. This might include slides, charts, diagrams, or even physical objects that help to illustrate your points and make your story more tangible. Just be sure to use these tools in a way that enhances your story, rather than distracting from it.
Keep it concise:
While storytelling can be a powerful tool, it’s important to remember that your senior team is likely busy and has many other priorities vying for their attention. As such, it’s important to keep your story concise and to the point, focusing on the key elements that are most relevant and impactful. This will help to ensure that your message is heard and remembered and that your project gets the attention it deserves.
Remember that feedback is a natural and important part of the storytelling process. Don’t be afraid to seek out feedback from your colleagues and senior team, and use it as an opportunity to learn and improve. By embracing feedback and using it to refine your storytelling skills, you can become a more effective communicator and leader, and make a greater impact in your career.
One effective way to capture your audience’s attention and keep them engaged throughout your story is to build suspense. This might involve starting with a surprising fact or statistic, teasing the audience with hints about what’s to come, or introducing a cliffhanger that leaves them wanting more. Just be sure to deliver on your promises and keep your audience engaged throughout your presentation.
Humor can be a powerful tool to break the ice and connect with your audience, especially when introducing a potentially dry or technical topic. Consider incorporating a relevant joke or humorous anecdote into your story, or using a lighthearted tone to make your presentation more engaging and relatable. Just be sure to use humor in a way that is appropriate and professional, and that doesn’t detract from your message.
Practice active listening:
While storytelling is often associated with the art of speaking, it’s also important to practice active listening as part of your presentation. This means paying close attention to your audience’s reactions and feedback and adapting your story and delivery accordingly. If you sense that your audience is losing interest or getting confused, for example, you might need to adjust your pace, tone, or content to keep them engaged.
“The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.”
– Lily Walters
Develop and refine your storytelling skills
A career coach can be a valuable resource in helping you to develop and refine your storytelling skills, particularly as they relate to introducing your next major project to your senior team. Here are some ways that a career coach can help you with this topic:
Assess your current storytelling skills:
A career coach can help you to identify your current strengths and weaknesses when it comes to storytelling. This might involve reviewing past presentations or feedback from colleagues and discussing areas where you would like to improve.
Provide personalized feedback and guidance:
Based on your current skill level and goals, a career coach can provide personalized feedback and guidance to help you improve your storytelling skills. This might involve suggesting specific techniques or strategies incorporated into your presentations or providing feedback on your delivery and presentation style.
Help you to develop a clear and compelling narrative:
A career coach can work with you to develop a clear and compelling narrative for your project, based on your audience, goals, and messaging. This might involve helping you to identify the key themes and messages that you want to convey and brainstorming creative ways to bring your story to life.
Practice your storytelling skills:
A career coach can provide opportunities for you to practice your storytelling skills in a safe and supportive environment. This might involve role-playing exercises or mock presentations, where you can receive feedback and refine your approach.
Provide ongoing support and accountability:
Finally, a career coach can provide ongoing support and accountability to help you stay focused and motivated as you work to improve your storytelling skills. This might involve regular check-ins, goal-setting, and feedback sessions to help you stay on track and continue to improve.
Help you to tailor your story to your audience:
A career coach can work with you to tailor your story to your specific audience, ensuring that your message is relevant and resonant. This might involve researching your audience’s interests and priorities, and identifying ways to connect your project to their needs and goals.
Provide guidance on visual aids and media:
In addition to your storytelling skills, a career coach can provide guidance on the use of visual aids and media to support your presentation. This might involve suggesting specific types of visuals or media to use, such as videos, infographics, or data charts, and providing guidance on how to incorporate them effectively into your story.
Help you to manage nerves and anxiety:
For many people, public speaking and presenting can be a source of anxiety and stress. A career coach can provide strategies and techniques to help you manage your nerves and anxiety, such as breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and mindfulness practices.
Provide strategies for handling difficult questions:
Inevitably, there may be times when you face difficult questions or objections from your audience. A career coach can provide strategies and techniques for handling these situations, such as active listening, reframing, and acknowledging concerns while still staying on the message.
Help you to build confidence and presence:
Finally, a career coach can work with you to build your confidence and presence as a presenter and storyteller. This might involve practicing effective body language, tone of voice, and pacing, and providing feedback and guidance to help you refine your presentation style over time.
“The audience only pays attention as long as you know where you are going.”
– Philip Crosby
In conclusion, storytelling is a powerful tool for introducing your next major project to your senior team. By crafting a clear and compelling narrative that resonates with your audience, you can engage and inspire your team to support your project and drive its success.
While it can be intimidating to use storytelling in a professional setting, working with a career coach can provide valuable support and guidance to help you develop and refine your skills. Whether you need help with developing your narrative, improving your delivery, or managing your nerves, a career coach can provide personalized feedback and guidance to help you achieve your goals.
So if you’re looking to introduce your next major project with confidence and impact, consider working with a career coach to help you hone your storytelling skills. With their support, you can become a more effective and confident storyteller, and achieve the results you’re looking for.
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.