Episode Summary

When we tell stories – whether its to our children, our work colleagues, or our neighbour’s cousin – we help others make sense of what is, and what is not, important. That means storytelling is how we make sense of life. 

But why are stories compelling? Why do they stick with us long after we’ve heard them? Why are they an essential part of an employee communicator’s toolkit? According to Paul Smith, author of 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell, Lead with a Story, Sell with a Story and several other best-selling business books, “Recent cognitive studies have found that stories stimulate the logical and emotional parts of the brain. In other words, according to Smith, that means “we’re hardwired to respond to stories”. 

We sat down recently with Smith, who trains leaders/managers on how to become better corporate storytellers, and discussed the issues Fearless Communicators face in harnessing stories and storytelling in organizations. Here are some of things we covered in our lively 50-minute conversation:

Key Topics

  • Introduction (0:00)
  • Why organizations need good storytellers (1:31)
  • A Walmart story (2:51)
  • What makes a great story (8:03)
  • Paul’s favorite corporate storyteller (12:41)
  • Skills and traits of a great storyteller (15:11)
  • Storytelling in navigating change (18:58)
  • Dealing with not-so-great storytellers (20:34)
  • How to capture stories (23:22)
  • Storytelling metrics (25:35)
  • Dealing with rumors (27:20)
  • Shelf-life of stories and COVID-19 (30:28)
  • Stories and corporate culture (another story) (32:41)
  • Book introduction and 10 kinds of stories to have (40:11)
  • Summary (42:35)
  • What’s caught our attention (and contacting Paul) (45:19)

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