Last week, I attended a Rotary District 7690 meeting at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, NC and one of the main speakers for the event shared how storytelling could be a powerful way to drive new membership. He encouraged the audience to reflect on the impact Rotary had on each person and to share that story with friends, family members and work colleagues. The next critical step was to invite these people to a Discover Rotary event to learn more about the history of Rotary, the community service aspect, leadership opportunity and foundational principles.

The only problem was the workshop facilitators didn’t share HOW to tell a story. There is a technique to good story telling and I’ve been teaching this to leaders at Herbalife, Corning and RJ Reynolds the past several months along with other strategies to present with influence to create meaningful change, get buy-in, generate action and communicate in an engaging, interesting way.

There are four types of stories you can share: Personal story, Personal business story, impersonal business story or universal myth or fable (For a template, email and I will send you a worksheet. These are the steps to a meaningful story:

Open with the start of the story (time and place)
Create a relationship with the audience
Introduce theme, overall message, issue or concern

Deliver the key messages (three maximum)
Acknowledge their concerns; illustrate benefits
Keep the story brief

Close the story with brief summary or highlight
Issue a “call to action”
End with something memorable

Stories can be powerful to use in the workplace to give examples of the importance of goal setting, overcoming obstacles, professionalism, teamwork, and safety. During the 12 session customized leadership program I was teaching in Wilmington, the leaders were asked to share a time they learned a lesson as a leader and how to use that lesson to encourage their colleagues to improve their leadership. It was more powerful than reading a book or watching a video, to listen to their professional examples that had happened in their career.

Are you ready to tell your story to influence others and elevate your communication skills? Your story could be a catalyst for change in your organization. If you want to learn more about story telling or how to present for influence, call Merikay to schedule a brief conference call (336) 255-3273.