If I were Scheherazade, I would have died that first night. Seriously, there wouldn’t have been 1001 nights for me. King Shahryar would have had my head because I can’t tell a story to save my life. Craft a story experience, write a story, visualize a story, yes, sign me up! But oral storytelling is something I’m still learning how to do.
Apparently, I’m not alone. There are many who seek Scheherazade’s storytelling skills. It was standing room only at this year’s TRME conference storytelling track. The popular sessions covered everything from telling cohesive stories to data visualization. In one instance, our COO Lisa Osborne couldn’t even squeeze into one of the rooms because it was so packed. Knowing how to tell a story is clearly in high demand.
Why? Stories are compelling, memorable, persuasive, can hold a lot of data, and are extremely versatile. They can be told backwards, forwards, sideways, from the top down and the bottom up. Here at Ignite 360, we use all styles – oral, written, and visual (video, infographic, etc.).
Do not fear, Scheherazade. You will survive the night and go on to tell stories for 1,000 more. The secret is that you don’t need to be a master presenter or PowerPoint whiz to be able to tell a great story. Everyone has the gift of story inside them. All of us can be compelling, memorable and persuasive. You just need to recognize and play to your strengths. For example, I’m best-suited to turn data into stories in written form.
Here’s one way to immediately improve your storytelling: identify the story style you are already using whether that is oral, written, or visual.
How do you do that?
Look at what you already like doing. For example, if you are more of an extrovert, more of a talker and persuader, you may lean towards oral storytelling – you’re the one who tells an anecdote at the beginning of a meeting, or can retell a consumer story so well, everyone feels like they’ve personally met that consumer.
We’ve compiled a number of storytelling articles to help you improve your natural skills. The better you get, the more you can dip into other storytelling styles and challenge yourself.
For those who love listening to and retelling consumer stories
You may be more of an oral storyteller
Active listening sounds simple enough, but don’t be fooled. You will be tempted to comment, interject, or think what you’ll say next. The trick is to focus only on listening. Read about how to listen to your consumer, as well as your colleagues. And when you’re ready to present your findings, go bold.
For those who love digging deep, looking for patterns but can still see the big picture
You may work best with written stories
Thinking about what you’re hearing from the consumer and research makes you a curious sort, You can start to improve upon this skill by challenging yourself to frame your research outline as a story and by Sherlocking the story. Data then needs to be pulled together into something cohesive and memorable. Start by understanding Then you can articulate your Big Idea. When you’ve got a basic outline with insights and recommendations, add storytelling elements to enhance your deliverable.
For those who love the charts and graphs, and all things visual
You may communicate best with visual stories
Data visualization is a hot topic. Our Director of Creative Services lays the story out for you step-by-visual-step.
Start lining up your stories, there are a lot of nights ahead!
Want to learn more about how to improve your storytelling skills at work? Let’s chat - because we can help.