improve retention

The Shortest Distance Between Two People Is a Story

Once upon a time...

We all loved those words as children because we knew we were going to hear a story. Last night, I attended an excellent program - Harnessing the Power of Story to Lead Change.

The speaker, Judy Rosemarin, asked the audience "What is your 'humaway' story?" Just like we leave a theater and start humming the theme song, a message tends to stick in the minds of the listeners when we tell stories. The best public speakers are storytellers.

Some speakers are known for their signature stories.  The audience loves to hear the same story over and over because it resonates with them. Stories build trust, create emotional impact, and improve retention. Stories are not just for public speakers but stories serve as a leadership tool. They can help you deliver bad news and lessen the blow.

Judy recounted a situation where a company was going to downsize. The leader began his presentation by telling a story about pruning a tree. Branches needed to be trimmed in order for it to grow. When he finished his story, he transitioned to the pruning of the organization. While people were not happy about the loss in headcount, they understood the big picture.

In networking meetings, people deliver their elevator pitch. This is a statement or a snippet. A more powerful way to introduce your company is with a success story. Stories create a safe haven and create an intimacy. When two people meet they can share themselves through their stories. As Ms. Rosemarin explained, "The shortest distance between two people is a story."