How great storytelling can change your career

Storytelling isn't just for kids. As it turns out, great storytelling can make you a better employee. Here's why you need to harness your inner storyteller. 

book with fairy lights

The ability to deliver a message that inspires action is a career game-changer. But it’s easier said than done. Watching and listening to stories is one thing. But carving out your own takes confidence, and a clear sense of narrative. Luckily, we’ve got you covered.

Whether it’s in a job interview, a team brainstorming session or a meeting with clients. If you can set up a scene, draw your audience in and make them care, you’ll create a memorable impression.

Trying to win some budget allocation? By telling a story you can create interest in the area you’d like backed.

Going for a promotion? Use an anecdote and you’ll not only demonstrate experience, but you’ll be the more memorable candidate.

So, how can you leverage storytelling for your career? Gabrielle Dolan, the author of Stories for Work: The essential guide to business storytelling, is an expert on business storytelling and leadership.

Her success in storytelling has seen her work with large-scale companies including National Australia Bank, Telstra and Uber. Put simply, she’s The Guru.

According to Gabrielle, there are four steps to nail storytelling in your career How to nail storytelling in your career:

  1. Conduct a story inventory

    “Take some time to think about the experiences you have had in your life and how they could be used to communicate a business message or show a value that is important to you,’’ says Gabrielle.

    “Some of these may be major life events, but typically your day-to-day experiences are more relatable to others, and therefore the most powerful stories you can use in business.’’

  2. Be clear on your message

    According to Gabrielle, one of the biggest mistakes people make when they first attempt storytelling is that they’re unclear about the end message or “key take-away” that they’re trying to communicate.

    “People may try to communicate several messages with one story. As a result, your audience will be confused about the purpose… Ensure you only have one clear message per story.’’ Gabrielle says.

  3. Prepare your stories

    Make no mistake, the people who appear to be natural storytellers put a lot of effort into preparing and practising their stories.

    They know how to start with impact, what to omit so their story isn’t too long, and how to end in a way that links the story to their message.

    “Preparing and practising your stories won’t make them inauthentic, it will make them better.’’ Gabrielle says.

  4. Be authentic

    Last but by no means least, your stories need to be true.

    “Perhaps the most important aspect of storytelling in business is that your stories need to be authentic.’’ Gabrielle says.

    “It’s not worth the backlash to your credibility to make-up or exaggerate stories… You also need to really believe in the message you want to communicate. This means your stories need to be consistent with your behaviour.”

    “Storytelling in business is not about manipulation, it’s about genuine influence.’’Now that you have the intel, it’s time to give it a trial run. What’s a workplace situation in which you could give storytelling a shot? It’s bound to help you reach your goals.

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