The Art of Storytelling
One of the most pleasurable experiences as a parent is reading to your children. The ability for a compelling story to truly capture their imagination and command their undivided attention, as they listen to every word in complete silence and with utter concentration, is spell-binding.
Stories have been told and passed down for generations, and the ability to articulate a story well, with the perfect recipe of tone, pitch, passion and content, is hard to beat – and also hard to master.
Any business meeting, or indeed interview, relies heavily on these variables and the ability to convey your message effectively and efficiently; often hinging on you juggling all these factors and putting them together in the correct order.
Think about how you tell your own story when it comes to your role and career. All good stories start with a beginning, middle and an end. Think about these factors when facing off against a stakeholder where you may have limited time to grab their attention, or at an interview when asked to tell the interviewer about your career to date, why you are looking for a move, why you are interested in the role/company. Be clear, use facts and examples when appropriate, be passionate, enthusiastic and purposeful, but remain succinct.
Think about what you want to say and the message you wish to get across – rehearse this in your mind and get the story straight. There are very few people who have the ability to spontaneously reel off a perfect story or response; for the vast majority of us it requires some thought and preparation. Also think about how you would overcome a killer question – do you have the answer, and will it be convincing?
A badly told story will only leave your audience disengaged, unconvinced and disinterested; get it right and it’s one of the most powerful skills and tools, not only in business but life in general.
Richard Guest specialises in senior leadership and executive search for procurement professionals.