A New Doctrine in Business: Storytelling

Stories are our destiny.

They express us.

They connect us.

They sustain us.

They engage us.

They reach into the depths of our souls and link us to other people in a unique and unparalleled way.

Stories are communal.

Today, our stories can reach the farthest corners of the world because of technology. The relationship between storytelling and technology has made every single one of us publishers. Our potential reach is global and instantaneous.

As the landscape of what is possible is morphing incessantly, the new reality of the individual as a storyteller and self-publisher with global reach is utterly transformational.

Leveraging the unparalleled, far-reaching power of storytelling is now the new doctrine in business.

It’s not an approach for anyone less than tenacious because it requires grit, determination, courage and perseverance to craft stories, tell stories, write stories and share stories.

Business bloggers, authors and storytellers live this tenacity day-in and day-out. David Meerman Scott recognizes that “all marketers should be publishers.” It is important to know then, does business storytelling work?

Psychologists have studied how stories work within the human psyche. According to Jonathan Gottschall, studies by Melanie Green and Tim Brock reveal that stories work in an unseen way to transform the way we absorb and process information. When reading dry, factual presentations, we as readers are on high alert for errors. We simply do not trust a text filled with facts, figures and bullet points; as we read, we are looking for the error, formulating our argument against the evidence as we are reading.

It is ironic that in the decade where we have access to more data than is humanly comprehensible, the vehicle that garners the most trust, confidence and belief is not a data point, but a story.

On the other hand, stories are almost ironclad insurance that readers will not notice, expect or even care about inaccuracies. The emotional draw of a story seems to render us as readers into a state of helpless apathy regarding the accuracy of the story. This is how stories slink into our psyches and move us, inspire us, engage us and change us.

Further, choosing a “channel” for business storytelling does not change the impact of a story on the reader. Blogging, eBooks, print media, videos, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, podcasts are all storytelling mediums.

Although the Internet has created an explosion of storytelling and content-sharing channels (social media alone makes us all self-publishers), the first priority is not about the channel, it’s about the story. Channels enable, amplify, magnify; they are important, but not most important. Stories connect; transform; engage; they are most important…

Perhaps it is the complexity and cacophony of our world today that contributes to the story’s triumph over the fact-filled presentation. The art of simplifying, using pictures, engaging our emotions, can transport us from the daily grind into a non-defensive, receptive state of mind. We readily embrace that transport.

We are all publishers and we are all storytellers. Business storytelling is a powerful enabler to cut through the clutter and engage your audience. Try it and see. A story can change business results because it is -- and always has been -- the story that connects, inspires and transforms humankind.

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