At first the idea is a little puzzling – what has storytelling got to do with the world of work? Well, quite a lt it seems. Think of this – whatever we know of the world and of ourselves is story. And there is a lot of research around which suggests that it is the good storytellers who are generally more interesting, successful and wealthy. So is it in the story or is it in the way of delivery? Maybe it has a lot to do with:
- what story are you are telling?
- why you are telling this particular story?
- how you are telling it?
- who you are telling it to?
- how are you responding to your audience? Is it authentic?
The most important thing you are ever going to sell is yourself. Your ability to tell an empowering story and to be able to paint a clear, finely granular word picture of ‘who you are’ and ‘what is going on’ is probably one of the most important life skills you have. The ability to tell a good story will literally help you get what you want. The only thing you need to know, is what you want.
Stories are the way we transmit complex information to each other across space and time. The way we tell a story reflects our unique understanding or perception of ‘how things are’ or ‘what happened or ‘what is happening’.
Professional Storytellers at work
There are many professions in which proficiency in storytelling is vital. That is because all professions are based on beliefs about the world that are themselves completely contained in story, language and ritual.
Almost everything you do involves communication with other beings. If you think of the content and impact of these communications, they often involve the exchange of complex values, feelings and perceptions. Stories are used to persuade, describe and encourage action by motivating yourself and others. If you accept the notion that power and change are intimately related, then your ability to tell a convincing, motivating story that makes you and anyone who listens to it feel good is related to your personal power. It is your story that makes you who you are. Who would you be without stories?
Professions associated with storytelling include: Medical Doctors (there is a specialised niche in medicine called narrative medicine which looks at the relationship between story and healing), Traditional Healers (called Sangomas and Inyangas in Southern Africa), Salespeople, Journalists, Astrologers, Priests, Shaman, Lawyers, Psychologists, Advertising copywriters, Psychotherapists, Advocates/Barristers, Judges, Politicians, Teachers & Academics, Leaders, Managers, Songwriters and even Accountants (accountanting is in fact one of the earlest forms of storytelling!). Seems everyone is trying to tell or sell you a story…