4 simple tips from a corporate storyteller: How to incorporate stories at your organization
Storytelling is becoming a popular term and position inside of companies in the past 5 years and rightfully so. Executives are realizing how powerful stories are not just for external customer audiences, but for internal employee audiences as well. Websites like Glassdoor and social media platforms make a company’s internal culture public which impacts current and potential employee’s career decisions. With the average time an employee spends at a company dropping to 4.4 years, retaining talent through building engaging company culture has risen in priority. This is where the role of a corporate storyteller becomes impactful.
We sat down with Silicon Valley corporate storyteller Dhaya Lakshminarayanan and asked her why companies are placing an emphasis on storytelling and what organizations can do right now to implement some simple techniques she uses.
1. Why is storytelling effective?
Dhaya talks about using storytelling as a way to express values, be more human, and connect with employees on a less transactional basis. Remembering employees are human is critical and stories help humanize experiences and inspire new ones. The science behind storytelling makes it an even more compelling tool. Stories tell your brain to release compounds like dopamine, cortisol, and oxytocin, all of which help grab attention, induce empathy, and create action (Link). In a sense, your brain responds to storytelling by making the content it is receiving more sticky and easier to remember.
2. Where storytelling can make an impact?
People generally think of storytelling as a natural technique brand and marketing teams use, which is true, but often these teams are focusing on communicating with external audiences, not internal co-workers. Creating stories for internal audiences is the most effective when utilized by HR teams, L&D teams, and internal communications teams. Building internal company culture relies heavily on these departments.
3. How do you introduce storytelling skills to teams?
Storytelling doesn’t mean creating fictional storylines with plots, it means using an arch, theme, or event to present valuable information. Think of it as a really effective delivery mechanism for a message you’d like to communicate. Dhaya talks about being human when she consults with teams. It’s OK to be vulnerable and empathize as well. She mentions taking risks and providing the space for others to do the same in order to experiment with what resonates. If you are not a natural storyteller a easy place to start is finding stories that are currently unfolding at your company and simply highlighting them. Get in the habit of recognizing what lends itself to a story and what does not.
4. How can you easily introduce storytelling without much effort?
We mention finding stories already happening at your company, and trust us, there are definitely events happening at a company all the time. Maybe it’s a new customer, a new hire, new technology, or a quarterly report. All of these events are stories waiting to be told. Start simple and remember most employees at your company don’t have time for long winded emails with huge blocks of text. Use this to your advantage and keep your story highlights to 2-3 easily digestible paragraphs. Add context with a few high-quality photos, and eventually you can get more advanced, dedicate more resources, and use tools to help streamline the process. Starting small as a proof of concept will give you the ability to show your leaders and executives value. Get creative, take some risks, and remember everyone you work with is human… they’d rather have something be entertaining than boring.
See how you can start capturing and sharing stories at your company with Enwoven.