Use Storytelling

What is storytelling about?

When you wish to convey a complex or technical message, storytelling is a powerful communication tool. This is especially true in the context of IS, where your direct colleagues won’t always have the technical knowledge to follow you, and even more so within Firmenich where your daily activities get even more abstract.

If storytelling is an appropriate way to make ourselves understood, what are the key ingredients? In which contexts is storytelling suitable?

First, think of your basic message. Is your purpose to make your audience aware of a problem? In this case, a story that frightens your audience or makes them worried about the problem will be effective. Maybe you want to motivate your audience and encourage them to dream and believe that nothing is impossible. Check the Stand’Impro scheme.

Here’s a checklist that you can to while preparing your speech:

  • Establish an obvious link between your main idee and the chosen story
    At the end the story, your audience should have no difficulty understanding how this narrative connects to your message. An important principle of oral communication is that the easier your message is to understand, the more convincing you will be.
  • Be authentic
    The chosen story should be something that happened to you, or at least happened to someone or something close to you. Don’t try to imitate someone else and don’t rattle off glib lines that you don’t truly believe. This will diminish your credibility with your audience and make the story less appealing.
  • Be universal
    The story that you are developing should address the reality of your audience. Even if you speak about something personal, every single person should be able to make an immediate link between your story and their own truth. Therefore, seek feedback beforehand to test the effect of your stories. You may be surprised to discover the first impression of your audience.
  • Embody your story
    Think of yourself as a comedian or as someone in charge of communication within Firmenich – someone who utilizes improvisation, theatrics and embellishment. Most of the time, these skills are miles away from the requirements of your daily tasks. However, practicing them will make a strong positive differ in the way those around you perceive you.
  • Stir up emotions
    Why are emotions so important? What are the different layers involved in activating them? What is your preferred layer? Click here to access the next chapter