The difference between storytelling in general and business storytelling is the latter is systematic and purposeful. One systematic way to find business stories is to use a daily journal. Story journalling could be done at the end of the day, before bed, or on the fly as you discover stories.
Many business people think nothing happens to them that’s story-worthy. Nothing could be further from the truth. You just need some questions to prompt you and 5 minutes of quiet time to reflect on your day.
I find these three questions are a good place to start. You might also like to add your own ones.
• What stood out for you today?
• Did you hear any good stories?
• Did you read any good stories?
You can expect these questions to generate a few potential stories. Then ask yourself this question for each one:
• What’s the point this story makes?
If the story helps make a point, then it’s worth trying out. If it works in practice then add it to your repertoire.
It’s best to record your story journal in one place so you can go back over your potential stories. As things change at work potential stories you passed over in the past can become relevant in the future.
You can go old-school and just use a paper notebook. The digital version might be to simply open a Word document and keep appending your entries. My preference is to use Evernote and keep all my entries in one electronic notebook.
Story journalling needs to become a habit so find a time that triggers the behaviour such as finishing dinner or having a night cap. Spend the 5 minutes journalling then pause to appreciate the stories you discovered.
Set yourself the small goal to do it every day for a week. Then build from there. Within a month you could have 60 stories to tell.
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on: