Storytelling Your Way to Greater Business Impact

Jan 14, 2019 | Data & Analytics, Training & Development

Storytelling. A word that has recently snuck into our business lingo. Why you ask? Because stories can be the most authentic form of content marketing and training when done correctly. Cognitive Psychologist Jerome Bruner even states that we are “22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story!” Let’s be real, our brains are inundated with more content, in more places, than ever before. Give your audience a shot to remember you and the information you are providing them. Business storytelling may be key.

The act of telling a compelling, credible, and interesting story is not easy. Yet, taking this approach to content is a relevant business skill that can be used in a number of applications both as a sales tool or as a training delivery method. To use storytelling as another business buzzword is simply wrong. Call it what you want, the act of eliciting an emotion with your audience is here to stay.

A recent article by Forbes outlines tips to creating an authentic story for business purposes based on one of many storytelling models available. Most models offer an adaptable process that looks at how storytelling can support performance opportunities and considers characters, conflict, a catalyst or change of some type and finally a call to action.

At One10, we not only believe in the importance of storytelling as a relevant tool, we use it in our training practice. Our clients and their learners desire content that informs and educates where quality and relevance are key. We recently partnered with the International Society for Performance Improvement to host a Regional Symposium focused on developing storytelling within the Community. Combining a mixture of art and science, the Symposium included learning tracks for Performance Improvement (PI) professionals within their presentations and training.


Storytelling at the ISPI Regional Symposium

One10’s proprietary approach to measuring relationship strength, RSx (Relationship Strength Index), is an excellent framework for incorporating effective storytelling into all forms of Performance Improvement solutions. Jeff Weiner, head of Analytics at One10, presented during the Symposium on how relationships impact performance and how storytelling can be used to present data about the strength of our relationships with brands and companies. Regardless of the attendee’s objectives – to sell products, create an engaged workforce, or ensure business partners are aligned for success, relationships matter, and storytelling can be far more effective in explaining this to clients and customers than a typical business presentation.

In addition to Jeff’s session, our One10 PI team was also excited to help facilitate a Community Service project during the Symposium. The project included a workshop for non-profit organizations on developing business storytelling skills and defining a strategy to enhance their organization’s performance. Though telling a compelling narrative is at the heart of a non-profit’s efforts, learning how to do this effectively is not easy. In fact, it takes time to develop. During a facilitated workshop session, organizations considered how stories can be used to support volunteer orientation, hiring practices, employee training, fundraising, marketing, board effectiveness and more.

10 volunteers from One10 helped 7 local non-profit organizations work through a number of questions – pulling out the emotional ties connected to each of their organizations. The feedback from the session has been overwhelmingly positive as the non-profits have used this training to launch them into their storytelling career and several reported plans to use storytelling to help tackle their 2019 objectives.

At the heart of every business problem, there is a story to be told. Uncovering that narrative and succinctly sharing with your audience is increasingly important in our digital and connected world. Whether you are leading a sales team, serving on a non-profit board of directors or designing training solutions, it’s time to add “storyteller” to your resume.

Find out how we can help.

Jennifer Albee

Jennifer Albee

Jennifer is a Performance Improvement professional with 20 years’ practice in consulting with clients on Learning Strategy, Instructional Design, Development and Delivery. She leads a team of experienced, award-winning professionals that specializes in Curriculum Strategy, e-Learning design & development, Performance Support Systems, Employee Engagement, new hire training and product/process training. Jennifer has extensive experience providing training solutions within the automotive sector as well as with clients in the retail, hospitality and manufacturing industries.