Leadership and Storytelling: Using Stories to Inspire Others

Everyone loves a good story. That’s why stories are so effective for engaging an audience, and inspiring action. Great leaders are great storytellers. Great leaders know how to capture people’s hearts and minds using stories that we well chosen, well constructed and well told. Great stories are engaging, inspiring and energising because they embody relevant, timely and are highly memorable messages. Great stories inspire, motivate and move people to action.

“Those who tell the stories rule the world.” Plato, Greek Philosopher

What is a great story? A great story captures you, your identity, your journey, your values and beliefs, and where you came from.” according to Dr. John Sadowsky, Distinguished Professor of Leadership at the Grenoble Graduate School of Business in France. Great stories are:

Authentic. You live the story in visible ways.
Engaging. Your energy and passion engages your listeners.
Personal. You reveal yourself through your stories.
. Include the minimum to create the maximum impact.

Stories are so important and powerful because they are viral by definition. That is, people simply love to hear them and share them. This has been true since the beginning of time, and it remains true in today’s high-tech world. Storytelling is the way we express our passion. Stories capture emotions and those emotions are transferred to others through the stories we tell.

“Reasons lead to conclusions; emotions lead to actions.” – Saatchi & Saatchi

Where do you find great stories? They are all around us, every everywhere, just waiting to be recognised and captured. They are crying out “take me, take me, I am a great story!” However, if you are not looking for great stories it is unlikely that you will find any. So, ask yourself the question: “how could I use this as a story? How can I turn this into a great story? What is the meaning, message, analogy, anecdote, irony or humour that I can liberate and how can I inspire people to take action as a result of this story?  If you can’t find your own use other people’s stories.

“I … SHAMELESSLY STEAL … stories of others’ effective actions.” Tom Peters

Your life is a story. You just have to write it yourself.

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