We needed to create something that would inspire people to donate. I made up a superhero called Charity Boy (including cape), and wrote about his adventures. The book was printed with the rest of the entries and sold for donations, and more kids in my district got involved in volunteering.
I didn’t know it yet, but I had tapped on to the power of storytelling.
Over the years I lost the magic, and drive to make up and use stories, as I got swept in the world of processes, data, and financial results. Yet storytelling was always there.
How can we be more engaging when we share numbers?
What do we want to convey?
How do we connect with each other and our stakeholders?
As a junior finance professional, I believed storytelling was not for ‘us’.
Data, facts and objectivity were what mattered. With time, I realized that they are not mutually exclusive.
First of all, we can chose how to convey the facts.
How to keep our audience attention.
We can also use anecdotes to build rapport and trust, to diffuse tense situation, or drive a point across during a meeting.
I worked on what I call passive storytelling, honing how to best help my team and the business.
(www.storytellingwithdata.com is a great place to learn, if you are interested).
Two month ago, I discovered how ‘stories’ could be an active driver. I was in the process of working on myself, learning negotiation skills (awesome program, but that's for another post), and I couldn’t get pass my mental blocks and limiting beliefs.
Forget negotiating, I couldn’t get myself to ask for anything. I didn’t have motivation to push out of my comfort zone and really change.
Then I thought, well worse case I will get a story out of it.
I tried, failed and got a funny story, which I shared with my network. Then I tried again, and so on. Tackling a new project? Sure I will have a story to tell if nothing else. Volunteering in areas that interest me but I never thought I could get into? Why not try.
Having a story to tell became my reason for doing whatever scared me, and the more I did the more fascinated I was to learn how to be a good story teller, going to workshops and joining writing challenges. This doesn’t have to be the way for everyone, but I hope my experience shows that storytelling can be a tool for everyone, not just writers and marketeers, and share more. If you feel like it please share yours in the comments.