Storytelling can be one of the most compelling ways to build camaraderie within a team. As a leader, when you share during meetings, breakouts, and even during individual one on one meetings, you might want to consider tapping into the power of stories.
From the setup of the story to the climax to the dramatic effects and the solution provided, you should be able to engage your team members, especially when your stories are relatable and delivered in an authentic manner. Storytelling can be an effective way to help your team to see the vision you have, but also join you in carrying out the tasks to see that vision come to life. This type of buy in allows you to connect with your associates in a powerful way that will forge healthy employee/employer relationships.
Studies have shown that leaders who are intentional about leading team members, whether they are fully bought in or are dysfunctional as wever, can be as dynamic and colorful as the type of storyteller they train to be.
“The neurochemical oxytocin is responsible for making our brains susceptible for storytelling. The more we’re engaged in a story, the oxytocin is released. The more oxytocin is released, the easier it is to persuade us to help others.” (Linh Tran, Inloox.com)
Storytelling has a tendency to boost everyone’s willingness to collaborate. Often times, at their own volition, team members become convinced of your perspective and are more than likely to follow along in your leadership.
When good leaders lead, their ability to tell a moving story will be a considerable factor to becoming a Great leader. Because great leaders influence for an impact.
Below are 4 strategic ways to use storytelling to build an effective team.
Stories are Moving – Invoke Emotion & Move People To Action
Emotions are an exceptional way to influence a person’s beliefs. Logical arguments, slide presentations, and research-based speeches typically only convey facts and figures, leaving emotions at the wayside. When you skillfully tell a story, your story will leave an impression in your team’s mind if it can captivate them through pulling on their heartstrings. Using emotion to communicate will help your audience remember your message on a much deeper level.
How can you practically do this? Use stories that are character-driven and relatable. Talk about the conflict or challenge the characters are facing. Describe their personality. Do they have a family? What is their career? Where do they live? Do they have any interesting quirks that will make them more relatable to your audience? Sharing about people and their personal stories always bring an emotional element. People love to hear about other people’s stories.
Keep It Real – Authenticity Connects
The reason emotions work so well when sharing a story is because emotions are authentic. They show others who we really are. Authenticity connects your team to the character in the story, which in turn, helps build trust between yourself, as the storyteller, and your team. If that authentic connection is made, your team will be compelled to cooperate and help establish the vision you are sharing.
How do you use authenticity in storytelling? You need to believe.
Believing in yourself as the storyteller, will communicate to your team members that you are self-assured in your role as their leader. You’re not trying to convey arrogance. Arrogance portrays a “better than” opinion of others. Focus on transferring a feeling of confidence and humility at the same time.
Believe in the ideal, point of view or vision you are conveying to your team. If you don’t believe in what you’re saying, your own self-doubt will come across to your audience. Self-doubt does not persuade people, authenticity does.
Results are produced when people Relate to the message
Being relatable is key to connecting with your audience. If your team cannot relate to you, they will not connect with you. Relatability creates a sense of understanding and connection between you and your team. Mutual trust shared between leaders and team members, lays a strong foundation for building an unstoppable, dynamic organization.
Sharing your own personal experiences is a powerful, practical method for relating with your audience. Talk about your own life-struggles and how you overcame them. Share the lessons you have learned from them. Even if somehow you feel you failed in a certain area of life, there are always positive messages that can be gleaned from your experiences. Don’t be afraid to expose this part of yourself. You will be amazed at how your relatable storytelling will build trust and confidence in you as the leader.
Inspiration has lasting effects
Inspirational quotes, messages and stories can be found everywhere. Scroll through social media, watch a movie or television show, peruse a blog online, or read those large billboards on the highway. Many brands and organizations are using inspiration to connect with their followers. Why? Because inspiration taps into a person’s values, beliefs, and dreams. The values and dreams people hold onto shape the decisions they make, the direction they follow, and the people they trust.
There are many different ways to practically apply inspiration to storytelling. Use images, pictures, or graphics to convey your message. Make the story more compelling with animated language and an expressive tone of voice. Do not think your story has to be long and drawn out to be inspiring. Often it’s the short, sweet messages that leave a lasting effect.
You now have 4 distinct, but effective ways to use storytelling as a team building strategy – Emotion, Authenticity, Relatability, and Inspiration. Which of these methods will you draw on as you develop and create those strong connections with your very own team?