Last week, at the monthly I Am Networking event, we had the pleasure of listening to Lucy Gower, a coach, trainer and consultant specialising in empowering people with the confidence and tools to think creatively and make their innovations happen. Lucy enthused our networking group for 30 minutes on the true power of storytelling.
Whether you want to communicate an important message, motivate internal teams, attract more fundraising or make your marketing more sharable, memorable and repeatable – storytelling, Lucy told us, is your most powerful communication tool.
“From the dawn of time we’ve been hard wired to learn through storytelling, it’s in our DNA”, Lucy opened with, reminiscing about how, as a child, the character of Lucy, from C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and the adventures she had, resonated so distinctly with her. And not just because of the name they share! What characters and stories spoke to us as children Lucy asked? What adventures reached us to the core and sparked early years of imaginary games and story-telling? Typical for an I Am Networking gathering, the avid listeners were soon sharing their experiences, filling the room with favoured childhood stories and analysing their significance!
So, it was clear that we’re enthused by our own favourite stories but, when it comes to creativity and innovation, the really hard work starts when you try to get others to be inspired by your ideas. Whatever your role – whether working with internal teams, managing up or down, pitching to investors or selling to customers – your ability to inspire and excite people might be the difference between success and failure.
Children are natural storytellers and their imagination takes them to far flung places, meeting extraordinary people and eye-opening adventures. Stories expand and enrich their world. Lucy explained how the focus on facts and figures at school then draws children away from the imagination and the creativity it inspires. Then the world of work with its heavy use of jargon puts us even more out of touch.
People want to be inspired, ignited, roused enough to act and make a real difference. But are we going to have this desired effect on people if we can’t reach them to the core? We need to create connections with people and encourage empathy. Audiences lead with the heart and then post-rationalise their actions later. And the art of storytelling, Lucy argues, is the answer.
Here are some top take-home tips:
• Remember that the art of storytelling can inspire people to take action
• Lead with a story – the story can be backed up with pie charts but lead with the heart
• Critique your corporate jargon – will it resonate with your audience?
• Know your audience – it’s personal
• Ensure you and your team develop the skills and confidence for storytelling
I Am Networking events have developed a reputation as the best place to meet like-minded, intelligent and interesting people who all have a shared passion for charities and social business. We meet on the last Wednesday of every month to share ideas, laughter and a glass of wine! We’d love you to attend next time!
Lucy Gower is founder and director at Lucidity. She is also the bestselling author of The Innovation Workout and a global speaker on innovation.
Lucy will be running an in-depth workshop on 22 June and more details can be found here.