The Wealth Multiple of Storytelling

July 30, 2014 By Dave Chase

I recently read the article in Entrepreneur Magazine called Why You Need to Become a Better Storyteller. I was reminded that a great storyteller can make you feel a connection and pull you in without you even realizing it.  A story told well captures your attention and creates interest.

Some people for example will tell you, “I ran to the store to grab a dozen eggs.”  That message is effective in communicating what you did, but entirely forgettable.  Others share the same experience but begin with, “You’ll never guess what I did! On my way…”

storyteller

I’ve known two truly great storytellers in my career.  They both had the ability to take the ordinary and pique someone’s interest, or more importantly, take the intriguing and create passion.

As a CEO / Entrepreneur, your ability to develop an energized team, or to engage an investor base is core to your role.  Storytelling, the ability to share your message in a way that connects people and ideas, is central to that task.
According to the article and my experience, a well told story has the ability to:

  1. Make you human…rather than just being a company or an idea. It is about building a relationship.
  2. Simplify complex ideas…explaining a technology to most people is far more confusing and less engaging than sharing how a technology improves the users life or experience
  3. Entertain and engage…investor attention spans are short. Quickly engaging them with a well told anecdote will pull them from the other distractions in their heads
  4. Establish your authority…we meet many leaders every day. They become memorable not when they share what they’ve accomplished, rather, when they share a memorable experience
  5. Expand your realm of influence…told well, a story becomes “sticky” and helps you stay top of mind. People remember you and your ideas for a longer period of time and your influence expands

It was a bit of an “aha” moment for me when I realized the two greatest storytellers I referenced above were both respectively CEO’s/presidents of their large organizations.  They were already great leaders without their abilities to tell a story, but they created passionate followers in part, because of their ability to engage people with a story.

Importantly, the title of the earlier referenced article is what it is, and not “Why you Need to Hire a Storyteller” because this is a skill that can be learned.  Start now and make it a part of your interactions with employees, investors and family.  Andrew Stanton, the writer of the animated movies Toy Story 1,2 & 3 as well as Wall-E, shares his thoughts around story telling in a TED talk called “The clues to a great story”…just beware of the punch line of his first story.  Become a great storyteller and you’ll find a greater interest in your product, company, and ideas.

David Chase, Managing Partner at Advanced CFO Solutions, has experience in small to medium private companies and large public companies as a senior operational and financial leader.  With 15 years in finance, a CFO of multiple entities and divisional EVP experience, Dave has a breadth of experience.  Dave has led or been instrumental in raising multiple rounds of equity and debt in excess of $450 million.

 

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