Storytelling in business

What is storytelling?

Jenny Perkins, Head of Engagement at Cirrus, looks at the power of storytelling in business.

We hear a lot about storytelling in business, but not everyone really understands what it means. Even those who do are not always comfortable with it.

If you’re trying to get your employees to buy into a new strategic initiative, or to persuade thousands of colleagues and customers that your company’s rebranding is a good idea, storytelling can help to engage people in a unique way. While balance sheets and slide presentations have their place, there’s something very special about a good story, well told.

In today’s fast-moving world, we’re encouraged to be future-focused, to ‘fail fast and learn’ and not to dwell on the past. And while there is a great deal of merit in this, there are often elements of an organisation’s past that are worth holding on to – no matter how young or old the business is. At the heart of most successful organisations is a very strong sense of purpose and direction. Storytelling is a very powerful way for leaders to communicate the richest elements of an organisation’s heritage to both employees and customers. A leader’s finely-honed perspective on his or her company can provide balance in a world where financial targets and quarterly reporting can easily overtake everything else. Storytelling helps us make sense of what’s really important. It helps to develop a shared understanding. It connects us – both to each other and to shared values and goals.

On January 28,  National Storytelling Week begins in the UK. Its mission is to promote the art of storytelling, which will be the subject of my next post.  I’ll look at what makes storytelling an art and explore how it can drive innovation and creativity. Future posts will also offer top tips for developing storytelling skills.

If you have any stories, experiences, or views of your own to share, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

Back to articles