I just watched a 3-minute video advertising a course on storytelling. It was beautifully produced, of the highest quality yet there was not a single story told. It’s very easy to forget to tell a story but as we know, you don’t get the amazing benefits of storytelling unless you tell stories.
So how do you develop the storytelling habit?
Start small. And work on developing a storytelling streak.
The Christmas break is a great time to begin building your storytelling habit. Lots of stories are being told and you can practice and no one will even notice.
A good way to start small is to simply to spend your first week spotting stories. Listen to what others are saying and keep an ear out for time markers (here is our story spotting framework if you need a refresher). And if you hear a good one, jot it down in your story bank (ie a notebook or Evernote).
Once you are in the swing of spotting stories it’s time to get a streak going. I recommend you start a streak of telling small stories along the lines of “Just the other day …” and share something you saw or heard that helps illustrate a point you are making.
To keep a track of your streaks try this app called Streaks. Just set it to track one streak (Tell a story), you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with too many things to do. See if you can get to 7 days in a row and celebrate it when it happens. Then 2 weeks and then 30 days and so on. Please pop in a comment below letting me know how you are going.
Your aim is to tell one story a day.
When you get comfortable recounting things that have happened as your story of the day, move onto finding stories in the newspaper, podcasts, or books and then recount them. Each time try and work out the point of the story and tell the story in your own words to make that point.
And don’t forget, never use the s-word (ie don’t use the word ‘story’ in your telling).
Over January you will notice your story superpowers grow and you will be primed to engage, and inspire when you get back to work. And you should have some good stories to tell as well.
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: