Lead With A Story

ProjectsatWork.com

Better than a slide presentation, a good story can inspire and instruct. For project leaders, the ancient art of storytelling is a neglected tool for explaining initiatives and motivating teams. And if you’re not sure you’ve got a story to tell or the ability to tell it, here are nine tips for overcoming the biggest barriers to getting started.

Many of the most successful organizations on the planet — Microsoft, Nike, 3M, FedEx, Disney, P&G and NASA among them — use storytelling as a training, communications and leadership tool. There are many reasons storytelling is so effective as a leadership tool, starting with the fact that stories inspire, says leadership trainer Paul Smith, who has written a new book on the subject entitled Lead With A Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince, and Inspire (AMACOM; August 2012).

Stories also teach. Studies show that up to 70 percent of new skills and information acquired in the workplace comes through informal learning. “And the bedrock of informal learning is storytelling,” Smith says. This is probably because unlike most PowerPoint presentations, stories are easier to relate to and remember.

How can project leaders incorporate the ancient art of storytelling into their projects? Smith, an executive at Procter & Gamble, shared some tips from his book to…

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"Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end."

- Igor Stravinsky

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