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How Storytelling Helps Us Connect with Our Audience

On February 10, 2019 the Grammy Awards opened with an introduction by women describing the importance of music in our lives. As I listened to Michelle Obama’s message, I thought of the relevance of her words to the work we do every day. 

“Music helps us share ourselves…It allows us to hear one another, to invite each other in…”

What else can we do to share ourselves, hear one another, and invite each other in? We’re not all musicians, but each of us has a story to share. Although it may feel counterintuitive in our professional lives, one of the best ways to open other people up to listening, is to share a little bit more of yourself.

Of all the classes I teach, one of my favorites encourages the use of storytelling in business communication. In the workshop, people learn to use stories to bring their messages to life. Whether by opening with an anecdote that brings a sense of community to the people in the room or sharing an experience that reveals more of your personality, you can engage the audience and find common ground. Research on vulnerability shows that by sharing more of yourself, you’re more likely to connect with others, and that connection will help other people hear your message.

The next time you’re leading a meeting or delivering a presentation, consider including a story. Imagine how you can bring your detailed spreadsheet to life by sharing the story behind the numbers. Or capture attention in an otherwise routine meeting by explaining how the team achieved their goal, rather than just highlighting the numbers they reached.

With stories, we can show empathy, understanding and humility. So, if you’re struggling to have your message heard, stop and try a new approach. Consider adding storytelling to your communication repertoire. If you do, let us know about it!

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at info@TheLatimerGroup.com

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