Storytelling for Leaders: How to Inspire Your Team

Lesson 1 of 9

Class Introduction

 

Storytelling for Leaders: How to Inspire Your Team

Lesson 1 of 9

Class Introduction

 

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

So as you can see what we're here to do is talk about storytelling. And specifically for leaders. And what we're really talking about is how to inspire your team. But the secret today is it's not really even about being a leader or your team. Storytelling is something that you can do everywhere in your life, and in fact are already always doing. Story is how we communicate. As we soon as we start talking about something that's not happening right now in the moment, it's a story. As soon as we add in our perspective, it's a story. Okay? So we're gonna focus a little bit at times on how that relates to being a leader or how that relates to your team, we'll bring that in. But we're gonna give you fundamentals of being a storyteller today, and my real goal here is to give you such simple understanding or clear understanding of how simple it can be that you're able to take your storytelling to the next level immediately. That's the goal, okay? And so what is story, right? Story is something...

that has a beginning, middle and end. And you go on a journey along that story. Sometimes the journey is very short, like you're going to a neighbor's house. And sometimes the story and the journey is very long, like a trans-Atlantic ship ride. So story can be so flexible, and the great thing is when a story is quality, when it's a good story, it can be told in multiple ways and multiple lengths. So your story doesn't have to be just one telling of that story, you can actually try the same concept or the same focus multiple different ways over time. And I'm gonna give you a shot, I'm gonna show you hopefully how it will build today. I'll show you kind of a smaller version and then we'll kind of add things as we go. And so what you're gonna get today from this course is simple models of storytelling. Simple techniques or skills that can work inside that model to make your stories more interesting and better, and understand what makes your story affective on the other end for your audience. Usually when we tell a story we want some kind of affect with our audience. So understanding what's at play is really going to help us tailor our story, edit our story and have a bigger impact. So I want to just go into what I want to give you today. The goal is a sense of how to inject storytelling into your flow. You know you flow through life, we're all kind of floating down a river of time, to use a cliche metaphor. And in your flow when do you call on story? How often, how intentionally? So I want to give you a sense of where maybe we can inject it or how we can inject that effectively. Number two, I want to give you an improvisational approach. Sometimes with stories we think we need to be an Oscar Award winner to tell a story. Oh storytelling is for others. I need to really prepare my story. What if my story isn't any good? What I would say to you is that you're gonna be much better at telling stories than you can even imagine if you can take more of an improvisational approach and trust that we'll figure it out as we go. And that we'll feel into the story, and that the story will probably be different every time we tell it. Maybe we'll have some markers or key points. I'm gonna help you sketch out key points, but then fill in the blanks with improv. Meaning just what flows out of you. And last piece is an effective appropriate vulnerability. This goes into a little bit of that Daoist approach. We want you to be effective in your vulnerability, get what you want across, and appropriate. We don't want you to go too far and tell a story that's going to take away from the impact you want. We want to help you be more vulnerable, so ultimately you can have more emotional impact, which we're going to get into a lot more why that's so important, okay? So that's what I want to give you, hopefully we'll succeed on that today. Getting into story to start is you know, there have been over the course of time so many people that have had the right message but have had to fight really hard to get their message heard or been ignored. Some people have only had their message heard once they passed away, or they went through tremendous challenge in getting their story across. An example is like whether the Earth was flat or round, you know? That wasn't known, and at some point someone said, "Hey, by the way it's not flat." Right? There's a fact to that, but then there's also a story. And still there are people that don't believe that the Earth is round. There's still Flat Earthers out there. So sometimes even if the facts are clear, the science is proven, it's not compelling enough for some people, right? In fact for most people we need to have some sort of emotional connection. So an example that I want to tell you is there's a reason we need science programs to teach us about science because purely factual information, data alone, doesn't really move us. How many of us find ourselves looking at research papers in our spare time? Probably not so many of us that aren't professional in that way. So that's why a show like Cosmos that came along by Carl Sagan a long time ago was one of the first sort of stabs at taking science, astrophysics, and putting it into a packaging that the mainstream audience could connect to. Putting good graphics and good cinematography behind the data and the facts of science to make it more approachable, to have that emotional appeal, right? That's why we need storytellers. Because the data alone is not enough. And in fact there's a reason behind that. Story is up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone. Story is up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone. The percentage of 22 times is so big that we had to say 22 times just to even grasp it. (laughs) So that's why story is so important. And I'll say one other thing there. It's most likely because that's how we evolved. It's very clearly because that's how we evolved. We didn't have writing until very recently in our human history. So the only way to relay information across time, across generations, was through story. And you could imagine what a competitive advantage it is to both be able to receive story and tell story as a species. How competitive that would be for us surviving and passing on our genes. Because we can learn what worked and what doesn't work. What to do more of and what to avoid. And that's what we're gonna call the lesson today, or the moral. There's a point to the stories we tell. Sometimes we're not clear on what they are, and we help it get clearer today, but there always is a point to your story. So we want to make sure you're clear on it. Now also as we talk about stories, stories change. So why is there a fat elephant on the screen Cory? It's because I want to tell the story of sugar versus fat. Okay? So when I was growing up the enemy was fat. If you don't want to gain weight and you don't want to be overweight, then you need to not eat fat, because if you eat fat you get fat. You are what you eat, that was the story we were told. So there was non-fat everything. Non-fat yogurt, butter alternatives, everything like that. And it turns out that's completely not true, that is not how the human body works at all. And in fact the sugar industry paid off scientists to tell people that it was fat and not sugar that was the cause. So we now know based on more recent science it's actually sugar we should avoid. That's what's really doing the damage. But that story hasn't gotten out to the population completely. Obesity and particularly, what's the one for your blood sugar, insulin? Diabetes, thank you. Thank you Sam. Diabetes is at an all-time high, and our medical system is being crippled under the weight, pun intended, pun un-intended and then double-down intended. Under the weight of this crisis. And it's because they even literally, like yogurt they took the fat out of yogurt, and what did they replace it with so you eat it? Sugar. So we're in the middle of that story starting to change, about people wanting to be healthy, not being overweight, so is it fat or sugar? So there are people out there trying to tell the story of fat versus sugar right now, and there's sort of a battle going on for the hearts and minds of the populous, right? It has real world consequences. Stories change and the impact of those stories can be manifest on a massive scale, okay? So they really really matter what stories we tell ourselves and believe in and buy into matter. So what I'd like to hear from you is, what's a story that has moved you to action in your life? Something that someone told you or an experience that you had that really moved you. And I want you to take a moment and just write down an example of what that might be. What's been a really key story in your life? And if you're online I want you to do the same. Think about what's a story that's really been specifically around action. It tells you to change who you are. Could have been for the better, it could have been misleading. It's a story that had a big impact on your development or your path that you were told. Could have been by a person, could have been by the culture, by the media, by entertainment. I'm gonna tell a story later about a piece of entertainment that shaped my life very strongly. So I'll be using one of those. Does anyone have one that they're willing to share with us? About a story that really impacted them? Yeah Mandy. A little crazy, but one that hits me really hard is, (sighs) KFC. So Colonel Sanders went around and he was 60 or so when he tried to launch KFC. And he got you know 1,000 nos, he was living in his car. He only lived off of fried chicken that he had from other people. And his whole motivation was because he got a social security check and he couldn't like live on that. So he's like, I'm gonna be an entrepreneur at 60! And I might be not perfectly telling this story, but his persistence, the persistence in that story where look at KFC now right? One of the biggest sellers of fried chicken, and all because some guy was focused and just didn't give up. He lived in his car, all these crazy things, right? So I don't know why that story sticks with me, but it totally does. But it did, it inspired you. Would you say you're a fairly persistent person in life, that's like a key value of yours? Yeah and I would say that I think of that. Like I'm an entrepreneur, and so for me I hold the light bulb how many times Edison tried to make the light bulb and failed. Like I hold these stories of persistence in my mind when I have those moments. You anchor yourself to those stories, yeah, to keep you going. They serve you, they have a real impact on what you chose or chose not to do in your day. Whether you're gonna quit or keep going. You anchor to story. Not data, a story. Fantastic. Does someone have another one they'd like to share? Yeah, Sam. Probably on the opposite end of the spectrum from KFC is my recent move over to a plant-based diet was based on this book that I read called How To Not Die (Cory laughing) by Dr. Gregor MD. And if there was ever a compelling book titles, How To Not Die is a pretty good one. And it just talks about he science behind plant-based diets and what they can do for the 50 leading causes of death in America, and how each of those 50 leading causes of death can either be treated or reversed using a certain combination of like plant-based diets. So I've changed the way that I eat after reading that book. Great, so what's the point to that story? What was the key point to that story in that book that really resonated with you? The key point was that you don't have to treat everything with medicine and that eating a plant-based diet is not just healthy in a feel good kind of ethereal sense. It's proven to be health against the 50 leading causes of death. Boom, eat vegetables don't die. Pretty strong point to that story, right? Can I hear one more? Is there one more someone would like to share? Cool. Those are really good, those are perfect ones. And very compelling. And you can see that the story, the emotion behind it, is what moves you to action. In one we have someone who was in sort of a very dire situation. Social Security check, not a lot to live on. And that motivated this person to do something extreme and have extreme success against all odds. And over in this one there's sort of a negative framing in the plant story which is, if you don't do this you may die is what's inherent. So it's almost motivating, one's through inspiration, one's through desperation. We'll come back to that so you can see sort of the pulls there. So what I'd like to point out to you is that you already are a storyteller. Where you're at with that relationship to being a storyteller I don't know yet. But you already are one, so what we're gonna try to do today is make you a better one. You already are one. Now I would love to, this is something similar, but does someone have a story that they love to tell? So I asked you what was the story that moved you to action, and now I want to ask you is there a story you love to tell? Could be very short. So someone write down a story that you tend to tell over and over again. You enjoy telling over and over again. And remember a story is not an epic yarn, it could be literally a story of like the time you lost your cat and you freaked out and your postered all over and the cat was in your hamper. Right? It could be that short. But what's a story you love to tell over and over again? Okay, who's willing to tell that story? Maybe one of the folks that didn't tell one before, get some diversity. Yes, oh my god, I'll tell the story, yeah! (laughs) I guess mine that I like to tell happens a lot in the workplace, like especially when I'm interviewing people. And it's like my path of growth in retail in such a short amount of time. And I like to tell it because-- Do you want me to tell it to you? I would love it, please. Oh great. Just like I started in retail part time just to meet people, and fast forward five years, I'm a store leader at a premium door. So you never know where life is going to take you, and it encourages a lot of people that I tell that like this could be their path even if they don't think it is. Yeah and so what about that story makes it a good story? You said a little bit. You can also if you're an observer of that story, what makes it a good story? Why do you think she tends to tell that over and over again? It encourages people, inspires them. Makes them feel like they could be successful as well. It's like Kevin Garnett breaking out the basketball and being like anything is possible! Right? Those stories are inspiring, possibilities inspiring. You probably wouldn't tend to tell a story about, you know you should just give up now, you're never gonna make it. It's not a very fun story to tell over and over again right? So the lesson or the point of the story really matters. That's why we keep finding our way back to certain stories. They reflect things that are important to us. Does someone else have a story they like to tell? A favorite? It could be the same people that told the story earlier, I'm not gonna block you out anymore. Any story you love to tell? Yeah, Sam, give it to us. I feel I'm talking too much. No you're doing great. Just tell me to shut up if I am. The story I find myself telling pretty frequently is the story of how me and my girlfriend met. So I was getting off the train coming home from work and she was in the dog park that I normally have to walk through to get from the train to my house, and I saw her on top of the hill and I wanted to go say hi to her, but I didn't, and I kept walking past her. And I got halfway home before I realized I should have said something to this person, I should've said hi. So I turned and ran back into the park after her, and she was leaving, and I sort of jogged up behind her and just without any plan just tapped her on the shoulder and said hello. And then what happened? Now we're dating. (laughs) Voila, love. Beautiful. So what makes that a good story? Either Sam or anyone else who heard it. It's adorable. (laughs) There's a cuteness to it, yeah. It's scary to approach someone, and facing your fears even if you at first didn't face them, you turned around and went and got-- There was a fear, there was a lack of courage, quote un-quote, and then there was a reclaiming of courage. And at the end of slaying that dragon of fear, there was a treasure chest and a damsel, a princess, right? So pretty classic great story, plot elements. And one think you notice about when Sam tells stories, he has a lot of detail and richness. You really can see the movie of it happening, right? So that's one thing we'll talk about is how do we add the right amount of detail with the right amount of richness? That was a good example of that, right? Not every story has to have the most detail, but it's something that we can mix in there. Fantastic, thanks for sharing those stories. This will be a much more fun class as we all tell stories since this is a storytelling class. It's kind of like comedy, talking about comedy is not funny. Just talking about storytelling is not that fun. Telling stories is fun, hearing stories is fun. So we'll be doing some more of that as we'll be going on along today. So here's what we're covering. We're gonna be strategic and entertaining and understand what that means and why that's even important. We're gonna talk about the balance between emotion and strategy, and how we want to approach that. Authenticity and vulnerability. This is a theme in all the four courses that we've taught. It's coming back here again, supercharged. We're gonna give you a simple story model that you can use everywhere when you tell a story to help think it through. And then we're gonna have you put together a full story around a goal. You're gonna pick a goal that's important to you, like hey I'd like my team to be more this way, or I want to influence my partner or my family to do this. So something that is important to you that you want to influence on, we're gonna sketch out how we connect it all together, and we're gonna put a good story in the middle of it to make it punch, okay? That's our plan today, that's what you're gonna get as we go through the rest of today.

Class Description

You communicate with your team members every day, but have you ever stopped to consider how effective those conversations are? Are you really getting your message across in a clear and confident way? Are you explaining to your team why their jobs are critical to the success of the company?

If you feel like there’s something missing from your communication style, it could be the way you’re telling your story. Storytelling is an ancient art, used since the dawn of man to communicate, connect, and inspire. While it might come naturally to some, most of us need to learn and practice storytelling skills in order to achieve the most impact.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Design a simple story model to use in crafting your message.
  • Write a first draft of your story.
  • Know where to start in using storytelling in the workplace.
  • Engage your audience and elicit a positive reaction.
  • Tell stories that are simple, clear and concise, without being overly detailed or confusing.
  • Maintain authority while increasing authenticity and vulnerability.

Reviews

Sang Hyo Lee
 

The live audience group is too small. Always the same people are giving input to Cory. Would be better if the group size is twice the size. He's constantly asking his group who wants to share. This makes it awkward for everyone in the live lesson.

Katarína Hiklová