Storytelling gets results

Storytelling gets results

Story telling is an effective communication method that can influence clients and help them understand and accept new ideas according to business consultant Jean Gamester.

Asking clients to share their own experiences is one of four techniques that, the director of consultancy firm Semaphora said, can deliver positive result for businesses.

The second point centers on psychological technique called ‘what went well’. 

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“At the end of every team meeting, I ask participants to describe something that went well over the past few days, the role they played in making that thing go well, and the impact on others,” Ms Gamester said.

“People feel valued and they get an emotional boost from focussing on something they have achieved. Something of value to others. When I added this technique into my team meetings, the atmosphere around my projects changed and so did our level of success.”

Thirdly, when it comes to preparing employees for business change, a good technique is to explore what went well in the past.

Encouraging workers to share stories of past achievements enables the workforce to recognise its strengths and provides a solid foundation upon which to build the changes to come, according to Ms Gamester.

On the final technique, she said: “It is our nature to do post-mortems.

“When we do a pre-mortem, we project ourselves to the future and believe that our goal, whatever it is, has come true already.  Then we look back from that future time and tell the story of how we got to that future. We share the successes, the failures and the path that got us there. 

“And having imagined it, it sets the scene for us to take that route with courage, because in our minds, we have already achieved it. This is even more powerful if it is done with groups of people who are working together on a goal, because then they get a shared experience of that imagined journey.”

Adviser view

Carl Melvin, director at Renfrewshire based Affluent Financial Planning, said: “In financial planning, people tend to have the same issues and/or concerns. People have come to me time and time again worried about whether they have enough money to last them through retirement, or whether they can afford to retire early.

"Sharing stories of the experiences of past clients to current clients with similar circumstances is likely to prove valuable to the latter. They may find the solutions that worked for previous clients might also work in their case. It also helps build a rapport with clients.

"I often share the story about one client whose daughter and grandson lives in Australia. She would travel economy to visit them, which she did not enjoy very much. But what she did not realise, and what I told her, is that she could afford to travel at least business class. We even set a special ‘club class’ section in her investment portfolio so that she can have more comfortable trips to Australia."