Stories for Work | Gabrielle Dolan

Summary of: Stories for Work: The Essential Guide to Business Storytelling
By: Gabrielle Dolan


Get ready to discover the power of storytelling in the business world with Gabrielle Dolan’s ‘Stories for Work: The Essential Guide to Business Storytelling’. Learn about the historical impact of storytelling and its application in driving business success. Find out how storytelling can evoke emotions, influence decisions, and capture hearts and minds in today’s professional landscape. The book summary will also unlock the various types of stories – triumphs, tragedies, tension, and transitions – and offer tips on finding and structuring your own authentic stories for maximum engagement.

The Power of Storytelling in Business

Storytelling is an ancient art that dates back to the earliest civilizations. It serves as an effective communication tool that can be applied to business situations. Australia Post, for example, created a two-day storytelling event called the Grapevine to instill new company values into their workforce. Attendees were asked to share a personal story related to one of the values, resulting in a significant increase in employees’ confidence in explaining these values. Storytelling is a powerful remedy to the problem of dull PowerPoint presentations in business.

The Science of Storytelling

Stories are not just a form of entertainment but also powerful communicative tools. The emotional connection that stories build between the storyteller and listener stimulates the release of oxytocin (trust hormone) in the brain and engages the neocortex (higher cognitive function), leading to a vivid mental picture of the narrative. This emotional engagement is what influences our decision-making process, making storytelling an effective influencing technique. Advertisements that are emotionally driven are almost twice as effective as those based on logic alone.

Triumph versus Tragedy

The article highlights the power of using storytelling to convey important messages in business scenarios. The reader is introduced to two main categories of stories, tragedy and triumph. Tragedies revolve around a disaster, while triumph stories focus on success and celebration. The article provides practical examples of how storytelling can be used to illustrate the importance of safety and instill core values in a company. The author emphasizes the impact of story-sharing as a tool to connect with others, inspire change and create meaningful bonds between individuals.

The Power of Tension and Transition Stories

Stories can be powerful and effective tools for communication. Tension stories can be about conflicts where your values or behavior were questioned, while transition stories focus on major life changes. Both types of stories can enhance our skills and are worth sharing. For instance, Jonathan Snelling, a senior product manager, demonstrated humility by sharing his tension story, which taught him the importance of accepting help. On the other hand, Rose McCarthy, an HR manager, shared her transition story about immigrating to Ireland to demonstrate her determination and willpower, which landed her a job even with no experience in the field. When telling tension or transition stories, emphasize the emotions felt during the experience and avoid sounding like an autobiography. By crafting these stories, we can share our experiences and use them to connect and inspire others.

Everyday Stories: A Treasure Trove of Inspiration

The book explains the importance of embracing everyday situations and not focusing only on life’s big events to find authentic stories. It shares the story of Peter Cook, who learned to prioritize his goals by adjusting his perspective. The book also provides two effective approaches to find both work and non-work-related stories. To find work-related stories, the book encourages readers to create a table and brainstorm different story types related to their past jobs. For non-work-related stories, readers should jot down significant memories and link them to specific story types. By doing so, readers can spark their inspiration and uncover a treasure trove of stories.

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