Digital Marketing

Corporate Storytelling: The Power of the World Tale

You are not limited to the stories of your company, your personal life, and the stories of others in corporate storytelling. Why not invoke the power contained in a few centuries of stories? When you speak in public, you want your audience to be immersed in your topic and to be able to hold onto your message long after you finish speaking. This desire and need really applies to storytelling in almost any situation, from the classroom to the boardroom, from the sanctuary to the platform.

Mixing a few good myths, legends, fables or fairy tales into your public speech can enhance the character of your presentation. Plus, with this technical business storytelling, you’ll connect on a much deeper level with your audience than when using personal stories alone. I call these kinds of stories “tales of the world.” However, it is difficult to pick one from any source and use it. Some tweaking, rewriting, and customization are needed. Let me give you an example.

I recently had the opportunity to coach a client who wanted to add more narration to his presentation. She knew she had enough personal stories already, but she wanted “something else” to complete her presentation.

My first coaching comment for her was that it was good for her to acknowledge that there can be too many personal stories in a presentation. It was also good for her to recognize that stories need depth and it is difficult to have depth when many other people’s stories are told. Those stories of others are more anecdotes than narratives. So I was on my way to making a solid presentation with a solid use of personal storytelling balanced with some (as I call them) “world stories.”

I was looking for a story that would demonstrate the dangers of staying in the same old place, staying in the same old routine. He had a very specific audience in mind and was finding it difficult to come up with the right story. After listening to it, I started researching stories. Research is one of my corporate storytelling coaching tasks. I found for her a perfect Aesop fable. In one of its original forms of complex language, it appears like this:

TWO FROGS were neighbors. One inhabited a deep pool, far out of the public eye; the other lived in a ravine with little water and crossed by a country road. The frog that lived in the pond warned his friend to change his residence and begged him to come and live with him, telling him that he would enjoy greater safety from danger and more abundant food. The other refused, saying that he was having a hard time leaving a place he had become used to.

A few days later, a heavy cart passed through the ravine and crushed him to death under its wheels. When I suggested this story to my coaching client, she responded with some revulsion. “There’s no way I can use a story like that. They’ll never get over the frog being ‘crushed to death’ in the story. I don’t think you understand what I need.”

Already quite sure of what he would say, I asked him if the message of the story worked for his presentation. “Of course I would. I would, but I can’t talk about dead frogs!”

I suggested that one of the keys to using stories from the world is the ability to adapt a story to fit your presentation. It’s a skill that very few of the so-called “business storytelling” coaches really understand or even have the ability to teach. However, I have been telling stories for more than two decades. I have the skills of a true storyteller.

I told my client that I would adapt this story for him as part of our coaching time. She agreed. In about an hour, I adapted the story to her specific needs. The first draft of the new version looked like this:

Once, there were two frogs. One lived in the country in a clear, clean pond and had everything she wanted. I was so happy to be outside. His sister, however, lived in the big city on a small canal on the side of the road, where there was a lot of traffic and it was dangerous.

One day the country frog visited his sister in town. The city frog complained about how noisy it was in the city and how difficult it was to see the moon at night because of all the tall buildings. Then the field frog said to him: “It sure is dangerous here. Why don’t you come to the field with me and live free and happy? I can see the moon anytime I want.”

“No,” said the frog that lived in the city, “I heard there are a lot of snakes out there, and there is all that mud, and besides, it takes a lot of energy to move out of my house. I’ll stay here; at least the canal always has water. “

The peasant frog returned home, where he was always happy and free. The next day, the city frog was caught in a net by a small boy, who took it home and put it in a large jar where it was kept with water and fed every day. There, the frog remained for the rest of its life, never seeing the moon again, but it had an endless supply of dead flies.

You will notice that I took the essential “core” of the story and adapted it to meet the needs of my client and their audience. I kept the essential concept of taking the safe vs. take risks while keeping the idea of ​​staying in a gutter / groove / gully to fit in well with your need to talk about “getting out of your rut” at your next presentation.

I also had to address his concern about his perception of violence in the story while maintaining the idea that the failure of the frog to break free from the “rut” would result in frustration and death. I replaced the final, violent image of a squashed frog with that of a captured frog. Who knows, maybe one day the captured frog can be released.

I have not shared with you the final version of the story, as my client further adapted my first draft to suit his audience. Once he saw that he was not limited to the version that he did not like, he quickly used my draft to develop a story that he loved and that would be unique for his individual presentation.

When a person opposes a “world tale” at work, it is most likely because he is opposing the unique version of the story that he has discovered. Although it may take some time to develop a new version of a story from the basic idea of ​​the story, it is worth it. The “tales of the world” allow you, as a speaker and presenter, to access the deeper meanings that have made such stories a staple for many different cultures for many centuries.

Take a chance on the stories! In the end, do you want your audience to feel connected to you, to have the “aha”? moment they create such stories? Mix and explore the power of the “world tale” to magnetically draw your audience to your message.

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