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What Business Leaders can learn from Politicians: Telling stories

Posted by  chandni —September 22, 2008
Filed in Business storytelling

The world’s been carefully watching Obama vs McCain. It’s interesting to see how the media are comparing their stories: Obama’s parents’ American dream, McCain’s journey in Vietnam, Sarah Palin’s hockey mom experiences, and Joe Biddin’s childhood struggles. Who tells the best stories? Whose stories make the most impact?

While politicians have mastered the art of storytelling, the world of business if far behind. Carmine Gallo points out two reasons why Business Leaders don’t use narrative to present their ideas:

  • Most presenters are afraid of opening themselves up in a business context.
  • Many deliver presentations created by folks with whom they have had little personal interaction.

Most people accept that stories convey more meaning to the listener than any amount of data or analysis. Yet we don’t see narrative complementing data as much as we’d like to.

Telling stories is not difficult. It’s actually quite easy once you give it a little practice. The hard bit (in a business context) is opening up to the idea of tapping into our experiences and sharing them.

About  chandni

2 Responses to “What Business Leaders can learn from Politicians: Telling stories”

  1. Keith De La Rue Says:

    One of the best recent political uses of story in Australia to my mind was Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generation. I blogged on this at http://delarue.net/blog/2008/02/the-story-of-sorry/.
    I was also interested in the contrast with Brendan Nelson’s response…

  2. Chandni Says:

    I couldn’t agree more Keith.
    I was at Parliament House lawns on the day of the Apology and when Brendan Nelson began to speak people lost interest at the end of the first sentence and by the fourth one they had started to move away.
    His ‘facts’ failed to connect with the people whereas Kevin Rudd transported people back to that time with his story. It’s a good example of how when you begin a speech or presentation with a story it paves the way for people to listen to the other bits that you have to say.

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