Categories: Agile, Collaboration, Communication, Digital, Disruption, Diversity, Innovation, Leadership, Project Management
How many times we go for a meeting and our mind wanders away?
How many times we sleep with our eyes open in a presentation crammed with numbers and texts?
How many times we yearn to reach out to our smart phone to read that important message on What’sApp while in a townhall?
The answer to all the above may be many a times. These are nothing but signs of dis-engagement. How can we combat these signs of dis-engagement? The Strategic Storytelling.
“Humans think in stories, rather than facts, numbers or equations and the simpler story.”
– Yuval Harari
It is a well-known fact that with Strategic storytelling, a project manager can create and enhance relationships with the team, customers, suppliers and partners. Not only that strategic storytelling can improve collaboration, communication and bridge knowledge gaps.
But will it be applicable in the #futureofPMWork as well? Here are the reasons why it might?
- Connected Projects: As projects gets more and more connected, the “Big picture” becomes very important. What other way than story telling can communicate the “Big picture” to all players in the connected ecosystem.
- Engagement factor: With shortened attention span of our customers and team engagement factor becomes big. A purpose story – “What is in it for me “engages them to the project.
- Diverse team: As our teams becomes more and more diverse, strategic storytelling helps to make connections between what is said and the team’s diverse experiences, facilitating understanding of important meanings, beliefs, and behaviours.
Why Stories stick?
- Whole brain at work: Stories connect the left of the brain which is analytic to the right side – creative side of the brain. This is called neural coupling which turns the stories to the listeners own experience and learnings.
- Chemical reaction: Neuroscientists believe that when we listen to stories chemicals like cortisol, dopamine and oxytocin are released in the brain. Cortisol assists in formulating memories. Dopamine, helps regulate our emotional responses, keeps us engaged. Oxytocin is associated with empathy, an important element in building, deepening or maintaining good relationships.
- Cortex activation: When we listen to stories rich in metaphor and expression, cortex - sensory, motor etc. are activated, which leads to a richer and a connected experience.
This is what I learned while leveraging Strategic Storytelling in my projects
- Story listening: Listen more. Tell less. Story listening is an excellent way to find out patterns what is working and what is not.
- Inclusivity: Stories should relate to the person or group who are involved in the project to connect them intrinsically or give them a purpose.
- Simplicity: Simple stories are easy to understand, remember and share. Keeping the complexity out of the way we can have our messages communicated effectively and make them stick.
Now that we know Strategic Storytelling may be one of those tools that a project manager may leverage in #futureofPMWork, what would be those instances where this tool may be most effective? Don’t forget to leave your views here?
Read on to know more on how I have leveraged story telling in my digital transformation projects
Photo by Nong Vang on Unsplash