Yes, we have all come through hard times at least once before. Troubles come and go, but we do go on. Carl Sandburg said it more eloquently than that (see the title above), but we all know what he means – and more importantly – what it means to us personally. We remember how it felt; both the pain of it and the power of overcoming.
Storytelling may be a lost art – but one that we as business people, non-profit leaders, and government employees, need to resurrect and make a part of our repertoire of communication. Quoting facts and figures, policy and procedure, trends and troubles, will simply not move many of us to action. These important but impotent bits of language will not rouse an audience, company or community to understand our pain nor join in the journey to meet challenges together – indeed they may not remember what was said much longer than passing your lips – let alone long enough to want to do anything about it.
There is a reason why the myths and stories of ancient times are still with us today, why classic stories are told over again from generation to generation, are updated, renewed and refreshed. Stories impact us on an emotional level (whether we know it or not). A good story fires up pathways in the creative left side of our brains – yes, even yours. This part of the mind sparks memory and unleashes the power of problem solving and creative thinking. Forbes magazine recently published an article on IBM research indicating that the number 1 skill needed by CEO’s of the future is CREATIVITY – not negotiation or financial skills – the ability to deal with the complexity of work, innovate, and get things done in a new way.
Are you concerned? “Aack! I’m not the artsy type!” Well, here’s the best part – you don’t have to be an artist or an actor or even a skilled writer to be a creative leader. Just start by telling a story. Perhaps I’m going out on a limb, but I’d bet that you used to be able to do this very well – when you were about five. Likely, your education did a good job of squashing the creative storytelling right out of you.
But you can reignite this ability – and like any skill – it just takes a little practice. The next time you have to address employees, customers or stockholders, tell them your facts and figures in a story. See MORE