Story-telling is proving to be far more than just the latest training fad. As reported in the July/August issue of Training Magazine, major companies in industries ranging from high tech and high finance to high touch – and everything in between – are turning to story-telling as a powerfully effective way to inform, engage, and educate at every level of the organization.
Companies such as Sprint, the Ritz-Carlton, Hewlett-Packard, and many others both on and off the Fortune 500 list are embracing story-telling for everything from leadership development to customer service training and employee recognition programs. In fact, it seems like there’s no educational or communication initiative that doesn’t respond well to a little (or a lot of) story-telling.
So how can you bring story-telling into your organization’s training efforts?
- Start with a clearly-defined project.
A project like new employee orientation would be good for several reasons. With onboarding, there are typically clear objectives, clear learning points, and you can easily determine how well new hires integrate into the organization. Onboarding presents opportunities to tell the story of how the company got started, along with stories that reflect the values and culture of the organization. (Other test project options could include the rollout of a new technology, a new leadership-development program, or the announcement of a new policy.)
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a project where you’ll be able to clearly see the impact of story-telling on the program’s success, so that you can …
- Document your results as fully and clearly as possible.
The idea is to capture information that shows how story-telling improved the success rate of your training or communications program.
For instance, as one of the Training Magazine articles recounts, story-telling led to some “seemingly impossible happy endings” in solving customer service problems. “Instead of losing an unhappy customer, the storytelling team created a surprised and happy customer.”
With documented positive outcomes, you’ll be able to …
- Use the results of your initial program to make the case for incorporating story-telling into more of your organization’s training, communication, and employee rewards programs.
Humans are wired for story-telling. From the earliest oral histories, to the timeless tradition of reading to children at bedtime, up to today’s viral and heartwarming (if cliché) kitten videos … none of us, it seems, can resist the lure of a good story.
Why not leverage that to your organization’s advantage?
Additional resources: The July/August issue of“Training Magazine” features three articles on storytelling.
“Once Upon a Time Training” and “From Shy to Storyteller” are both available here:
“Sharing Stories to Show Truth” can be found here:
We also recommend the popular CRM Learning “how to” video training program Tell Me a Story: A Powerful Way to Inspire Action