For several months I have rattled on about the importance of being a good storyteller. In an economy where change is moving faster than ever, effectively communicating information to employees in a way that is memorable for them is integral to success.
The art of storytelling for leaders and job applicants is an area where I have some expertise and, owing to my blogs, podcasts, videos and speeches, I get quite a few calls. Most are centered on some variation of these questions: What does storytelling mean in the context of leadership and interviewing for a job? How can I become a good storyteller
Here are four points to remember:
- Storytelling is a way of communicating your experiences and accomplishments in an engaging, memorable way. It is how you convey important information — your style and how you organize your thoughts.
- Everybody has stories to tell. The secret to success is to be prepared. Remember, in interviews, for example, 60 to 70 percent of the questions you are asked you will have heard before. If you recall those questions and if you understand your career value, I mean really understand it in a way that allows you to use bits and pieces of it to answer the questions, you should be able to be more effective in communicating information, your value.
- You cannot wait for the interview to begin or the start time for a major presentation to research the depth and breadth of your stories. You need to go the bank of your experience now and begin by developing your career value statement and then think carefully about your successes, failure and lessons learned. Together these are central themes for your story.
- Being a good storyteller means that you are akin to a memoirist who has developed an intimate relationship with their experience and understands how to leverage those successes and failures into a compelling narrative about who she or he is as a leader.
Writing a memoir was thought to be a task reserved for the business, governing and entertaining elites who lived interesting lives with defining experiences.I think that is how you should see yourself. That is how you should envision your career and your experience. Successes as well as failures should be the basis for your story. Get busy, write your memoir.
By the way, if you are not yet keeping career journal, you are missing/forgetting some important stories that could help people see your intrinsic value. These remembrances will help you rise to new heights of success.