The Power of Storytelling As A Strategic Business Tool

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Storytelling is all about winning hearts and minds. Whether the audience are customers, employees, investors, the board of directors or other stakeholders, the end goal is the same: you have to persuade them to your way of thinking. Storytelling is a powerful strategic tool for business that can help you to achieve exactly that.

Storytelling is increasingly being used by business leaders in this way. There are many good reasons for this. As Harrison Monarth (2011) explains, writing for the Harvard Business Review: “We humans have been communicating through stories for upwards of 20,000 years”.

It makes sense then that stories would be so appealing to us, and that businesses that use storytelling as a tool are better able to capture and hold our attention than those that do not or cannot. Effectively storytelling is all about persuasion. When used well it can win people over to your way of thinking. When used poorly it will probably lead to mistrust and cynicism, so getting it right is important. It is an excellent strategic tool because it serves so many different possible purposes. For example, storytelling can be used to close the deal on a sale, by showing a customer a potential new reality if they purchase the product or service. It can be used to drive monumental changes in the organisation while retaining the support of employees. It can be used by wily functional heads that want to secure capital investment for a project. It is ever more frequently used in marketing campaigns by savvy marketers. And these are just some of the uses to which storytelling can be put. In any situation where you want to move people to take action of some sort then storytelling can be used for this purpose, and it is far more effective than just telling people what to do.

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