Storytelling helps drive home your business vision

When I spoke with Samuel Conway this month about the Anthrocon event for Uniquely Pittsburgh, I was drawn in by his storytelling skills as he described how their event came to be hosted in Pittsburgh. His interview was one of the most memorable I’ve had in awhile.

But what is even more impressive is when you visit Anthrocon’s website, you can find that Conway tells that exact story in a video that is several years old. He used a lot of the same phrases in both instances.

This is probably a story that Conway has told again and again, but it didn’t feel rehearsed when I heard it.

Storytelling in business

This got me thinking about how often business leaders have to share their mission and vision for the company again and again to their stakeholders — board members, employees, clients, etc. In fact, one of my CEO columnists recently wrote that when you’re tired of telling your message, the audience is just beginning to hear it.

If a CEO had just a portion of Conway’s storytelling skills, it would make sharing that vision so much easier.

When you can convey your message consistently and memorably, that’s when you start creating believers, and getting employee and client buy-in. Those employees and customers in turn will help spread the message even further.

Mastering a good story

So what makes a great storyteller? I turned to Google for some inspiration, and came across an interesting Forbes article by Nick Morgan on a 2008 TED Talk from storyteller and children’s author Carmen Agra Deedy.

Here are a few of his tips:

  • Be concise and pick your details; focus on the turning points.
  • There must be conflict. A personal story must show you in an honest and probably less than flattering light.
  • A great story is not an anecdote; instead it’s a tale of struggle leading to change. (Doesn’t that sound a lot like what you do in your business every day?)

To learn more, watch Deedy’s TED Talk at www.ted.com/speakers/carmen_agra_deedy.