Monkey Puzzle Blog

Woman telling a gripping story to colleagues

How to use story telling to inspire your team

Our minds love stories, some social psychologists believe it’s a major contributor to our evolution over other animals. The use of stories and fables to teach and pass on important information through generations is well documented. It has prevented us as a species having to re learn skills that have already gone before, important when our average life span was only 35 years...

Story telling is a skill that anyone can learn, although some people are naturally good at it. Here are some essential do’s and don’ts if you want to inspire your team:

  • Think about the purpose of your inspiring story beforehand - is it to show there are many ways to achieve something (help the team think about options), is it to give them confidence to be courageous (help them to speak their mind) or is it to reassure them to keep to the plan or process (keep going it will be OK). This purpose should be a strong theme throughout your story.
  • If you are comfortable and enjoy telling stories, using indirect metaphors will suit your style. Like telling fables, using characters and symbols is very powerful but only if it’s something you can tell congruently.
  • If you are a more straight talking person then create stories that are more direct and factual but still inspiring. Like a similar business that achieved a great goal or teams that did more than they first thought they could.
  • Once you’ve designed your story think carefully about the images and associations people could make from the story. Are these appropriate? Using a Shrek like character as the hero might be fun but might also turn people off as they don’t want to be a smelly ogre or a Superhero could inspire people to take big risks - is that what you want?

For the full feature see the latest copy of Great Minds Think Differently here. Great Minds Think Differently is our monthly feature for leaders and HR professionals - sign up here to get it first into your inbox each month.

Our Mind Mastery Practitioner programme teaches leaders to design powerful stories using complex linguistics, so they impact as intended every time. Find out more about the programme which is run each year as an open programme and also in house for organisations.

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