Storytelling Techniques for Business Messages

When you hear the word storytelling you may think of children’s books, fantasy or even biographies; however, storytelling is one of the most effective ways to organize business messages in any business communication scenario. This process used with various storytelling techniques are common in recruiting, television, advertisements and in many other ways, due to the way that they draw people in. Narratives are a way to tell stories that can be useful with company histories, product reviews and demonstrations. In simpler and everyday situations, storytelling can be used with PowerPoint Presentations and business proposals and allows the audience to imagine themselves in the experience, resulting in a unique way of listening and remembering the material you presented. 

How to Create any Business Message with Storytelling Techniques

An organized story should have three main parts.  To start, the beginning should always have a relatable subject with a passion, dream or problem. Beginning in this way, allows the audience to be lured in simply due to empathy. Humans are social creatures, wanting to relate, and with a captivating introduction that touches this concept, people will listen. The middle of the story should show the character’s actions needed to overcome the struggle.  It commonly contains what is known as the climax, which builds tension in the reader by making the story more intriguing. Finally, the end of the story should answer all the questions, lessons and effects from the cause. If ever given an opportunity to inspire or teach lessons, add these storytelling elements because they allow the listener to take valuable knowledge with them. 

Examples 

Storytelling techniques in business messages can create an atmosphere of inspiration, passion and vision. One of the best examples of inspiration, in my opinion, is the speech presented by Steve Jobs, ex-CEO of Apple, given at Stanford University. Steve Jobs never graduated college and ironically his speech was presented to the Stanford graduates. His speech included three stories, one for each the beginning, middle and end.  The beginning presented Steve Jobs as a relatable person and not just the CEO of Apple. The middle stated his goals and actions and the end tied up the lessons he learned through his obstacles. The speech had elements of inspiration, lessons and persuasion that people could both relate to and remember. 

Business messages can be communicated with storytelling techniques for recruitments, company histories, advertisements and essentially anything with a message.  However, many business messages can simply be communicated through PowerPoint presentations in an everyday workplace environment. PowerPoint presentations can be boring if the information on the slides is just delivered with no flare or story. Carmine Gallo from Forbes says, “PowerPoint is a great tool if you use it not to deliver information but to tell a story instead.” Gallo’s article goes into more detail describing seven ways to tell stories with PowerPoint. Business proposals are usually a simple way to get information and needs to a company, but if the document is not written clearly, well-organized, and interesting it could be rejected. Organizing your business proposal can stand out by adding interesting stories, similes and quotes. Association for Creative Business Writing provides more information on business proposals and why it is important to add these business writing tips.

My name is Erica Dillon and I am a student at University of South Florida. I’m currently enrolled in Professor Richard’s Professional Writing course ENC3250.

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One thought on “Storytelling Techniques for Business Messages

  1. What an interesting idea- to link story telling with business writing! You were very clear in explaining how story telling can be used in business. Your Steve Jobs example is very informative and validates your point. I also liked that you told your readers when to use these story telling techniques. You gave your readers a multitude of additional sources to find related information. However, I would have liked to see another example of its use.

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