Foolproof tips for using your business story to engage and motivate your stakeholders and teams.
I recently spent time with a group of talented corporate leaders discussing their business story. They spoke openly about the challenges of getting others to understand the value they delivered. Guess what? They’re not alone.
Whether you’re an independent brand or global leader, communicating your story and encouraging people to act is no mean feat. Get it right, and life will be a lot peachier for you and those you work with.
What is business storytelling?
Storytelling in a business context is all about connecting your vision, mission and values to your audience’s wants, desires and values using a memorable narrative.
What can business storytelling do for you as a leader?
Far from a new concept, businesses are only now coming round to the value of building a culture of storytelling internally. Stories build trust, helping others make sense of change, engaging them to act and uniting them around a common goal. People are more likely to connect with a story than a mandated strategy.
Three steps to creating and communicating your business story
STEP 1 – Understand the challenges your different stakeholders face and precisely what you do to help. Top tip – avoid making incorrect assumptions by interviewing key people, running surveys/polls etc.
- Include how you make an individual’s life easier, helping them avoid future problems and achieve their own personal and professional goals etc.
- Then look at how this will benefit the business’s strategic goals. For example, delivering a great employee experience to aid talent and retention, protecting your brand, increasing productivity etc.
STEP 2 – Invest the time to get your brand story straight. Top tip – Work with your team to define/refine your vision, mission and values to help everyone feel listened to.
- Use your insight from above to make sure you can connect your story to the needs/wants/desires of your different stakeholders and the business.
- Look for the golden thread that connects them all – this is your high-level story which you can then tailor for different stakeholders.
STEP 3 – Get yourself out there and be seen. Top tip – you need to get creative in internal comms, especially when we all face vast amounts of email.
- Try a more personal approach when building your network; take key stakeholders for coffee, buy them a beer or send them something in the post if they’re WFH.
- Ask for a slot at their team meetings, all-hands calls etc., to tell your story or ask for feedback.
- Explore your existing communications channels. Work with internal comms to get your story into newsletters etc. and think about creative ways to communicate like videos or even a podcast or webinar.
- Share your experiences (positive and negative) and invite others to do the same.
The business world is not always the most ‘human’. You have the opportunity to change this, taking the time to understand how what you do impacts people and their personal goals beyond just what the business needs and telling a story that differentiates you as a leader and adds value across your organisation.