After a quick team vote* on whether trainers were an acceptable smart casual footwear choice, Write the Talk’s Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Bull, stepped onto the stage at Leicester Business Festival last week to talk about the most powerful business tool never invented…
Did you know they’re 22x more powerful than cold hard facts? That’s because our brains aren’t wired to memorise lists or facts, instead, they’re more in tune with stories. Not convinced? Next time you come away from a networking event, think about what stuck with you most. Was it the plethora of percentages peppered among the corporate speak on screen? Or was it that the session facilitator was once on an airplane, thought about jellyfish and proceeded to work his way through all the jellyfish-based inflight documentaries? Random but true story.
It’s all in the chemistry
“Our brain is structured to look for the narrative in everything it reads, hears and sees,” explains Rachael. “Think about your favourite TV series. You empathise with characters, you relish storylines and you invest yourself in their outcome.” Why? Because when we hear a good story, our brain releases the chemical oxytocin, which induces a feeling of empathy – whether for the main character or the journey they’re on. It also releases cortisol, which focuses our attention and keeps our brains captivated on the story. “Imagine the engagement you could achieve if you applied a strong story to your business,” Rachael continues. Those that attended the Leicester Business Festival didn’t have to imagine too much, as she walked them through our tried-and-tested story shaping process, explaining the intricacies of character development and creating a powerful story.
There’s a method to the madness
Coming up with a strong story that really sticks takes a lot more than just brain dumping some ideas onto paper. Here’s a quick summary of how we create compelling stories for global businesses:
1) Develop a clear understanding of your people, your organisation and its history. Knowing where your story comes from gives you a good idea of where it needs to go. It provides the starting point for your journey to greatness.
2) Then you figure out your character. Who are you, what makes you unique and why should people care? Work out the journey you’re on and the challenges you’ll face to get there. Remember, all good stories have an element of tension – it helps to keep people invested and dedicated to being part of the outcome.
3) Finally, decide what part of the story you’ll tell when. People don’t want to be bombarded with information all at once. Tease it out and keep them hooked for the long term.
An opportunity not to miss
If you’re still not convinced, did you know that a company with a strong story grows their revenue 4x faster than one that doesn’t? They also have happier, engaged and more productive employees. And as for their share price? Well, that goes through the roof. “It was really important for us to get involved with Leicester Business Festival and get more people onboard with story as a powerful business tool,” explains Rachael. “We had companies of all shapes and sizes really getting stuck in and feeling truly empowered with the idea that they could go away, apply story to their business and achieve incredible results.”
What’s your story?
From techie start-up founders to comms department heads in heavy-weight organisations, we’re spreading the storytelling message far and wide, and Rachael’s audience were the latest converts to the power of story. If we’ve piqued your interest, get in touch to find out more.
*In case you were wondering, we’re all in favour of trainers as smart casual footwear!