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What’s the First Step to Becoming a Good Storyteller?

October 28, 2013

become a better storyteller

Storytelling has become a popular way to inspire and motivate employees past current crises. Many leaders have trouble getting started, so what’s a first good step to becoming a good storyteller?

According to Annette Simons, master storyteller and author of Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, “Begin by narrating an experience that illustrates your personal connection to your work – a time you shined, a time you blew it, a mentor, or a scene from a book or movie that illustrates your values in action. Authenticity and trust start when you share a little more than expected. You will find that people share their own stories of authenticity and connection in response.”

Here’s another tip by Paul Smith, author of Lead with a Story, on how to become a good storyteller:  “Once you’ve started to learn about storytelling, here’s a great one to try out first: a lesson you learned the hard way — in other words, a “failure story.” People will appreciate your willingness to share your own failures so they can avoid the same missteps. This is what generous, caring leadership is.  It might look like this: an employee comes into your office to complain about some difficult problem she’s facing. Instead of barking out orders or advice, you say, “Yeah, I was having that same problem five years ago when I had your job. My first solution was a complete disaster!  I started out by . . . ”  Congratulations!  You’ve just told your first leadership story.”

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About The Author

Christina Parisi is Director of Digital Content at the American Management Association. Previously she was an Executive Editor at AMACOM Books and the Director of AMA Self-Studies.

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