Storytelling tips you can try: you can influence people easier when you know their ‘why’

Posted by  Shelley Fenech —November 24, 2017
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling, Communication

We understand that life gets busy. Between emails, meetings and projects it can sometimes be hard to deliberately think about useful business stories that you’ve encountered recently. We want to make it easier to become better business storytellers, and for that reason we’ve decided to post regular stories that include bite-size tips on how to use them within a business setting.


Yesterday I went to a great event by Save the Children – Talking with Children about Difficult Issues.

The discussion was fantastic and the panelists shared some great stories. When it came time for Q&A, a woman in the audience prefaced her question with an experience she recently had.

“The other day I was talking to my son about the marriage equality debate in Australia, and it made me sick to my stomach when he said, “it’s wrong!”

I took a moment to compose myself and instead of immediately questioning him on where he’d gotten this belief from – as we’re a family who’s voting yes – I calmly asked, “ok Jason, why do you believe this?”

He said, “because it’s wrong for two men to marry each other!”

Completely shocked I asked again, trying to understand his why.

“Yes, but why do you believe this?”

He looked at me incredulously and said, “because who would wear the dress?!”

I was relieved – after explaining that both men could wear suits, he was fine with the idea.”

How to use this story in business

If someone on your team comes to you explaining that they’re having trouble getting someone to agree with them on a topic, you could say something like this, “you know, it might be a good idea to understand why they have this opinion. Knowing their ‘why’ can actually help you to influence them. For example, a mother was talking to her son…”, and you launch into the story.

Tags for your storybank: #MarriageEquality #WeddingDress #Influence #Why

A storybank is where you store all of your stories. This could be a physical notebook, but we find that using a system like Evernote to be a more popular approach. You can even use Evernote to create tags, making it easier to find stories when you need them.

To be an effective business storyteller requires practice. Our programs are designed to work in a no-nonsense way in a business setting combined with lots of practical tools and tips and ways to practice. Learn more here

Shelley Fenech About  Shelley Fenech

Shelley is a recent Strategic Communication graduate and assists with all things communication. She helps to progress our purpose to help restore humanity to organisations by telling our story through marketing and social media. She also supports our global Partner network in their quest to bring storytelling into business.

Comments Off on Storytelling tips you can try: you can influence people easier when you know their ‘why’