Why Storytelling is the Highest Return Investment You Can Make In Your Career

Do you watch Netflix ? Are you guilty of binge watching Netflix ? Assuming your answer is yes to both these questions. Let’s do a second test.

Do you look forward to corporate presentations and the droning of your colleagues ? Ever wanted to binge attend a presentation meeting ? Assuming your answer is a heck no, you are now ready to understand why storytelling is such a powerful skill for you and your career.

Let’s begin !

Have you used storytelling in a business setting? It’s one of the most powerful things you can do to amplify your message and gain traction from your target audience. I truly believe everyone should have storytelling in their repertoire which is why I’m sharing it with you today.

In this blog post, I’ll be covering who benefits from storytelling, how you can use it to your advantage, and how exactly you can implement it into your work. The results will shock you.

Storytelling for a Mid-Career Professional

Organizations tend to function in a pyramid. People with less technical skills start at the bottom, and people with more technical competence move into middle management. While a certain set of skills will move you from lower to middle management, a new skill set is required to get you into higher positions. You’re no longer an individual contributor, and you’re suddenly expected to carry others with you. This includes your bosses, your peers, and your subordinates.

It’s new territory, and while you may be technically brilliant, influencing is entirely different. You’ll find that you will get left behind unless you can inspire and move these people forward. You need to create engagement and influence in a way that relates to their agenda, not just yours. Many people will ignore this and assume that because they are a technical expert, everything else will fall into place.

Suppose you’re in a mid-level position wanting to break into a senior role or in a senior position wanting to accelerate beyond. In that case, you need the ability to engage and influence people both within the organization and outside it.

This is where storytelling comes in.

How Storytelling Can Help You Break Out of a Career Rut

Take Netflix as an example, how many times have you started watching one episode and then binged the rest? Now, how often have you started reading a PowerPoint and thought, “give me another.”? – you don’t. The difference is that Netflix is communicative and engaging enough to keep you hooked versus PowerPoint presentations, which bore you to death.

Storytelling is both an art and a science. The currency of engagement with your agenda and what you say is the attention you get from people. Think of storytelling as the secret ingredient of people who know how to get attention and, more importantly, keep it.

People don’t understand that it’s the time-tested, scientifically validated, and highly proven principles of neurobiology that underlie the art and science of storytelling. Taking this knowledge into consideration, you can take that dry, boring, mind-numbing presentation that nobody wants to listen to and create a story that captivates listeners’ attention and keeps them wanting more.

Once you’ve drawn them in, they’ll be more willing and eager to support you in what you want to do. But where do you start?

How To Experiment With Storytelling

The top three questions I get from people who want to start storytelling are…

  • Does it have to be a long story?
  • What kind of story can I tell?
  • Where am I going to find that story?

The short answer? A story does not have to be long for it to be impactful. The places to start when it comes to storytelling are your own experiences, your customers’ or your employees’ experiences, but in a human way. Consider how they may feel as they interact with your company, your product, and the path you’re laying out for them. From here, you can create a story to deepen and grow your relationship.

As for where you’ll find that story, ask yourself, why do you even care about what you’re doing? Like Theodore Roosevelt said, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

What part of what you’re presenting do you care about? No one is going to be engaged with your presentation unless you are engaged with your presentation. It impacts the energy and everything that you bring to the table. Find inspiration by asking yourself what part of your story is exciting to you and why? Now share that.

When people see that you care about what you’re doing, they can’t help but get engaged and listen more intently. It’s entirely different from just throwing facts and figures at people, and you’ll notice the difference.

Do you have proof !?

I hear your skepticism loud and clear.

I run programs to teach people the fundamentals of storytelling, and the success stories that I’ve witnessed have been incredibly inspiring and honestly sometimes even hard for me to believe but people in our program are living proof of this..

  • I’ve had someone drop out mid-session to apply the skills they just learned to a presentation that was coming up in the next two hours, and they ended up nailing it beyond their wildest imagination.
  • I’ve had people finish a workshop and go to work the following day to revive dead accounts because they said they had nothing to lose.
  • I’ve seen people who have gone up to give industry keynotes where they have been put on the spot and used storytelling to diffuse the situation and provide a rockstar presentation.

The evidence behind storytelling is truly overwhelming!

I like to say that learning to use storytelling is like using a box of crayons. Once you’ve mastered the crayons, you can draw whatever you want. You can use it for change management, presentations, keynote speeches, and so on. The possibilities are endless.

Storytelling is the highest return on investment activity you can do for yourself. It’s a skill that pays on many levels and on many fronts. It’s just a matter of how far you want to go.

You’re Already a Storyteller

When you think about it, you’ve been telling stories since you were maybe three or four. This isn’t new to you. It’s just that you haven’t realized how powerful of a skill it can be when used in a business context because you never learned to do it. Think about your “why” and build your story up from there..

No matter where you sit on the pyramid, storytelling will get you where you want to go. Whether it’s leveling up, breaking out of a rut, or just improving the reach of your business, it truly is an asset. Ask yourself questions, experiment with different stories, and find what resonates with you. Now, share it with the world.

And remember, storytelling is a choice to invest in the power of your ideas and messages. You are one step away from that choice!

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