Once Upon a Time … The Art of Storytelling

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Step by step, day by day. Sharing my thoughts, frustrations, adventures, experience and bit of knowledges to become a great project manager.

Every day a new buzzword appears in the world of project management. One of the words that we are hearing lately is “storytelling”.

Storytelling is not something new or innovative, it has been used for years in commercial and marketing departments. At the project management level we are finding that storytelling offers a new way to connect, engage and motivate our audience.

Robert McKee, an award-winning writer and director, explained in a Harvard Business review “executives can engage listeners on a whole new level if they toss their PowerPoint slides and learn to tell good stories instead.”

From my point of view, we are far from throwing away the most used tool in our meetings, but we can include the art of storytelling in our toolbox.

Some of the key benefits to including the art of storytelling in our presentations are:

  • Building empathy with the audience
  • Engaging emotions
  • Making our ideas “cling like ivy”
  • Helping us to get the buy-in from our stakeholders
  • Our meeting attendees will remember a story more than data, or a “5 Why’s” slide

However, while storytelling can spice things up, it doesn’t take the place of some of our other existing skills:

  • Storytelling will not necessarily make us better leaders
  • Stories are not anecdotes
  • Stories are not a counterfeit of reality
  • We don’t need to dramatize our story.

Try to remember the last meeting or conference that you attended. Was it engaging? Were you motivated and inspired? Or were you just checking the e-mails on your computer?

And what happens when you are the chairman or speaker? Are the attendees engaged? Are they listening? Do they remember the information that you presented?

Reflect on your skill-set. Give it some thought. Maybe now is the moment to learn a new tool!

Originally posted in the PMI-NUC Newsletter Q4 - November 2017