June 19, 2018 / Esther Choy

leadership storytelling quotes

Leadership storytelling is the intentional assertion of your point of view. How do you master this underutilized 21st century leadership skill effectively and efficiently? In my book Let the Story Do the Work, I’ve provided tools, templates and examples to help leaders sharpen their business storytelling skills quickly. The quotes below all played a role in shaping my book and the tools it contains. If you need a crash course in business storytelling, they are a great place to start.

1. “To be a great storyteller, you must first become a great story-collector.” -Source unknown

It’s counterintuitive. Just as you’re ready to tell your own stories, why should you bother with collecting other people’s? Three main reasons. First, collecting stories helps you become a story connoisseur, so that you understand stories better and develop a taste for good ones. Second, this practice helps you build your personal “story library” with many stories you can include in your own public speaking. Third, by listening well to others’ stories, you expose yourself to your audience’s point of view.

2. “Logic makes you think. Emotion makes you act.” -Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting

Mountains of neuroscience research have suggested that emotion is the engine behind actions. Infuse your story with the right kind of emotional quality, and you will more likely achieve your intended outcome.

3. “Over the years I have become convinced that we learn best—and change—from hearing stories that strike a chord within us… Those in leadership positions who fail to grasp or use the power of stories risk failure for their companies and for themselves.” -John Kotter, Harvard Business School Professor and author of Leading Change

Enough said.

4. “Given the choice between trivial material brilliantly told versus profound materials badly told, an audience will always choose the trivial told brilliantly.”Robert McKee, screenwriting lecturer and author of Story

You don’t have to invent the next Google or eradicate malaria to earn your place to tell your stories. You’re already sitting on a goldmine called life. Just use the right tools, practice deliberately and seek feedback.

5. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” -Maya Angelou, poet and civil rights activist

The most important person in leadership storytelling is your audience. Tell your story from her point of view. The second most important person is you. How would you want to leave your audience feeling at the end of your story? These five quotes are the start of everything: nurturing a storytelling culture in your workplace, engaging your audience’s emotions, mining material from your own life and staying tuned in to your audience’s point of view. Let the stories begin!

Photo credit: Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash

Want to begin telling stories? Contact us for business storytelling training! Leadership Story Lab trains and coaches managers in storytelling techniques to help them become more engaging and persuasive communicators. Whether you would like to stand out in the interview process, add punch to a presentation, or make a compelling case for a new initiative, we can help. Schedule a complimentary session with us today! Esther’s new book, Let the Story Do the Work (published by HarperCollins Leadership), is now available!

This article first appeared on Forbes.

Esther Choy

Esther Choy founded Leadership Story Lab in 2010 to help others leverage the art of storytelling to create extraordinary opportunities.
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