Four reasons why storytelling is not a fad

by L&D11 Jul 2016
Fads come and go all the time, but storytelling is not one of them, according to Gabrielle Dolan, author of Ignite: Real leadership, real talk, real results.
The concept is not new and it has become more widely accepted as an important leadership skill, she added.
“Storytelling itself has already passed the test of time. You need look no further than Indigenous culture to see how Indigenous Australians have been using stories for tens of thousands of years to communicate. Business has just been a bit slow to catch on,” said Dolan.
"In a nutshell, business storytelling is about sharing personal, authentic and relevant stories to get your message across in a way people understand and care about.
"Storytelling in business is growing in popularity because it is one of the most powerful communication skills you can learn."
Here are four reasons why Dolan believes storytelling is not a fad and will be around for a long time.
People want meaning and relevance

Information overload is not new and it is not going away. People do not want more information; they want to focus on the material that is relevant and meaningful to them. Successful storytelling that shows consideration for your audience is a perfect way to do this.
Employees are looking for real leaders

Generation Y will be the most dominant generation in the workforce by 2020 and they aspire to be led differently. They are not looking for leaders who are perfect and have all the answers, they are looking for leaders who are authentic and are prepared to show vulnerability. A personal story has the power to show vulnerability and emotion in a safe and structured way. Consequently, leaders who are prepared to show vulnerability through personal stories gain commitment and credibility.
Emotion trumps logic

Great sales people have known for a log time that humans are emotional beings and that we buy on emotion and justify it by logic. In comparison, business people have been trapped for decades on the premise that logic will build credibility and influence people. Sadly, what they fail to realise is that logic just informs people. Therefore, logic alone will not change behaviour or mindset that is often required for successful leadership. Good leaders understand the importance of emotion when managing people by demonstrating the courage to share authentic and relevant personal stories.
Employee engagement is still a challenge

Companies place high value on measuring employee engagement. It is one of the very first scores leaders look to when they receive the results of employee opinion surveys because they know how important this metric is. Storytelling has emerged as a way to genuinely engage people around company purpose, values and strategy.
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