RESOURCE: To Persuade People, Tell Them a Story
Even with digital and social-media tools, employees often struggle to convey ideas to each other, to managers and to customers. That’s why companies such as FedEx, Kimberly-Clark and Microsoft are teaching executives to tell relatable stories as a way to improve workplace communication.
It’s a tool that’s more useful than PowerPoint presentations, say career experts, who note that storytelling can also be used on a day-to-day basis to sell ideas to one person or a hundred. But being an effective storyteller requires preparation.
Move beyond facts and figures, which aren’t as memorable as narratives, says Cliff Atkinson, a communications consultant from Kensington, Calif., and author of “Beyond Bullet Points.”
Many people in business think raw data is persuasive. But when you’re dealing with people from other departments and in different fields who don’t understand how you got that data, you can lose them pretty quickly.
“You have to step back and put yourself into their shoes and take them through the process of understanding,” says Mr. Atkinson. “That requires you to distill the most important facts and wrap them in an engaging story.”