Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.CareerStretchZone.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of IWLC.
As a leader—or even if you’re not one, as yet—communication is the centerpiece of your career. No matter what position you hold in a company, your primary job responsibility has you sharing information. You may be striving to persuade others about the worthiness of a new vision or the next project or a breakthrough product or taking on additional tasks or any number of other business issues.
The most effective way to influence others is to engage your audience’s emotions by sprinkling your messages with StoryTelling. It’s sure to enhance the outcomes you produce.
Why? The human brain, from early in childhood, has become receptive to stories. Think about your experience for a moment. Doesn’t a well-told story stick like a burr in your memory and touches your heart in a way no other communication can. Not surprising, when research reveals messages delivered as stories can be up to 22 times more memorable than just facts.
As this is such a powerful communication tool, let’s drill down a bit:
Are Men and Women’s StoryTelling Styles Similar?: No! Numerous research studies confirm there are consistent, observable differences between each gender’s style.
Men typically emphasize their storylines on contests of will, showcasing abilities and adventure. The sub-text is more forceful and aggressive in perspective.
On the other hand, women tend to center more on detail. A woman’s anecdotes include names or the specifics in a graphic descriptive dialog.
As a woman, we all know you work within a lopsided professional environment every day. Which means, when creating your pitch, you may want to trim down the details a bit to receive your male audience’s vote of approval.
K.I.S.S.: To be memorable and impactful, do not make the story overly convoluted. A good rule of thumb for effective StoryTelling is KISS. No, not keep it simple stupid rather Keep It Simple and Short!
Rarely, is it good theatre to tell the entire story from beginning to end. That would be much too long and drawn out and a guaranteed formula for generating low attention. Indeed, not the result you hoped to achieve. You might even want to consider starting smack-dab in the middle where all the relevant information usually resides.
Use the Right Words: Choose your words wisely—ones that relate to your audience. Remember, the intention is to captivate the audience through the senses because when done right, the entire brain is engaged. Such a commitment permits your audience to walk a mile in your shoes hopefully transforming any negative perception regarding what you’re presenting. The fact is by using words that vividly provide clarity for the recipient, you create trust. Not a bad thing.
Be Real:People are innately attracted to those who are authentic. Stories inspire trust as long as you make sure you aren’t over-the-top centering only on the optimistic everything is rosy pictures. You’ve got to acknowledge the struggles, obstacles, and challenges as well as your planned overcoming tactics if you’re anticipating alignment.
In today’s marketplace, once you’re confident with your StoryTelling abilities, you will differentiate yourself. Start test driving your capability. It takes time and practice to become adept, so establish your style now. You’ll reap the rewards for years to come.