Ep 88 // Storytelling for Engagement

Ep 88

Today, Akua talks about leveraging storytelling to connect and engage with your stakeholders, whether they're clients, team members, employees, or investors. 

Engaging with your team is one of the most important things you can do in your role as a leader. Telling stories can be a powerful tool in your engagement toolbox, helping to inspire, build rapport and align and reach goals with your team. Learn the three basic purposes for telling a story, tips on how to incorporate stories into your daily life, and how to know where and when to tell a story.

If you're not a natural storyteller, don't use stories in the workplace, or never thought about stories as a means of engagement, you'll want to check out this episode. 

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What's Covered in this Episode About Memorable Stories

  • Learn how stories can help align your team's goals, inspire, and build instant rapport with your team. 
  • When deciding on a story, think about your audience, how you want them to feel, and what you want them to know.
  • Keep your stories memorable and relevant.
  • Using storytelling is a great way to set the tone for a meeting or a retreat, and Akua talks about how she can support you in choosing and telling an engaging story.

Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations

  • "People will forget what you said people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
  • "Storytelling is important because it can inspire, and it can create instant rapport, it can move an audience or stakeholders or employees to take action." - Akua Nyame- Mensah
  • "Sharing Stories help employees understand their leaders perspective, and ultimately can play a big role in helping establish a common goal, right, helping them establish their authority, and helping them get things done." - Akua Nyame Mensah

Mentioned in Storytelling for Engagement

Additional Resources

What Storytelling Does to Our Brains

Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast

Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.

Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive. 

Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit.  Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.

Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:

Read about Akua’s services if you’d like to learn more about how you can hire her to help you strengthen your organization’s culture.

Complete her contact form to jump on a call.

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Here’s the transcript for episode 88 about Storytelling for Engagement

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Unknown Speaker 00:00 People will forget what you said people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. This is a quote from Maya Angelou and American poet, singer, writer and civil rights activists. And this is really what I want to make sure you take away from this week's episode. Hello, and welcome to the open door conversations podcast. My name is a Korea yami Mensa I also respond to Aqua and Akua. I'm a certified executive and leadership coach recognised learning and organisational development facilitator, speaker and former startup executive. And I am so excited because this year I'm celebrating five years of working for myself five years of supporting leaders. And I am so grateful because I've had the opportunity to partner with amazing organisations, from hydro startups to multinational brands all around the world. In 2022. Alone, I serve over 600 Yes, over 600 leaders around the world. And in this podcast, you will have the opportunity to learn my three step leadership framework. I actually break it down in Episode 71. I use this framework with my high achieving and entrepreneurial minded clients that are juggling a million responsibilities so they can easily build wealth. This three step framework is going to teach you how to leverage your innate personality to learn how to prioritise and maximise not just your time, but also your money. You don't have to work harder or turn into someone else. To get more done. Let's tune into this week's episode. Unknown Speaker 01:50 Hello, and welcome to this week's open door conversations podcast episode. So today we're diving deeper into engagement. And one way to truly connect with your stakeholders whether their clients, your team members, employees, or investors, one way to truly connect with them is to leverage storytelling, we have already covered communication and influence quite a bit, and my first batch of episodes related to the first step of cultivating your self awareness. And so this episode is about taking some of those concepts and thinking about how you put them into practice, or how you actually engage keeping them in mind. Why is storytelling important? Storytelling is important because it can inspire, and it can create instant rapport, it can move an audience or stakeholders or employees to take action. And probably most importantly, for some people, it can truly change lives. It can help people see what is possible for them. I mean, have you ever watched a TED talk? Sure, awesome. Storytelling, I'm not going to pretend I'm the best storyteller. But if you've listened to any of my content, who you know, I'm not a fan of sharing personal stories in general. And actually, there's really no space for storytelling in coaching. But I do believe there is a time and place for them, especially in the workplace. And I can definitely think back to times when I was working full time where I shared a story or two. And I've seen stories work wonders, especially in some of the change management related work that I do. Sharing Stories help employees understand their leaders perspective, and ultimately can play a big role in helping establish a common goal, right, helping them establish their authority, and helping them get things done. There are so many different ways to use stories in business. But when doing research for this episode, I found three basic purposes, the first to inform the second to persuade, and the last to entertain. I'm sure all of you listening to this episode. I'm sure you listening to this episode, I can think of stories that would fall into one of these categories. And if we really were to relate this or think about it from a business or workplace perspective, we inform to pass on knowledge. So for example, if you have an employee, you're trying to get them maybe to work in a particular way or approach you might share a story of when you were in their shoes, you might have a story to persuade to add value. I'm sure all of you can think of a brand or an organisation that has a lot of value because of the stories they tell and the stories around them and how they position themselves. The last and probably the most important in this social media world that we now live in is using stories to entertain and that's really to grab attention to be memorable. I'm sure all of you can think about a meme, or reel or tick tock that did a great job of that. And that's something that you can also leverage within the workplace, and to connect and engage with different stakeholders within the workplace in the professional realm. So some key things you probably want to keep in mind, when you're deciding on a story. It really relates back to your audience or stakeholders first. So what are your goals related to that? You really want to make sure that you're intentional? And you answer the question, who is my audience? And some of the things you might want to consider include? What would you like your audience to do? think or feel? What could that opening be in relation to your story? Is it a long story? Is it a short story? And how will your audience respond? Or how would you like them to respond to that story? Those are some of the key things you want to consider when you're thinking about leveraging storytelling, or leveraging a story within a presentation within a workshop within a one on one conversation. It needs to be memorable, and it needs to be relevant. So what would make them pause? What would get their attention in a constructive way? Of course, what's important to them? What do they need to know? And so with those questions, structure can be just as important. There's so many different approaches to structuring a story that you can find out there online. But I would recommend you keep three basic things in mind. The first is being very clear with that problem, and really setting the context for the story. The second sharing your solution or your approach, what would you do to help resolve this problem? or what have you done to help resolve this problem. And last but not least really reinforce or reiterates the moral the takeaway, the impact, or the benefits in relation to whatever story you're sharing? Let me give a quick example, I'm not going to tell a full story. But within that three step process that I shared, one of the things I hear many of my clients or mentees talk about is how difficult it is to do expectation setting. That's what I call it, a lot of my clients call it KPI setting, or OKR setting, I like to use the word expectation setting. And that actually might be a great place to leverage storytelling. So what would this look like with that three step simple process I just shared step one, you need to share that, hey, we have to hit some impressive goals. And I think that you're the team potentially to do that. Right. So you've identified the problem, you might want to give a little bit more context and maybe talk about some of the bigger, greater things that are going to be possible when you hit that goal. Step number two, you maybe want to share a captivating story about a time that you didn't think it was possible to do something or make a massive change in your life. That might be something that really hits home. Step number three, really bring it home share the concrete moral takeaway impact benefit of that story that you shared, and relate it to that overall problem that you're trying to solve? Right. So it might be something along the lines of I didn't think it was possible. But working together, we can do anything. The end. I know, I know, that probably wasn't the best example. But I hope you get the picture. And if this is something that you do want to work on storytelling, we could do it one on one, because this is something that I've supported my clients with, especially as it relates to setting the tone of an important meeting, or retreat moving forward, how can you incorporate storytelling into your day to day, these are my top five tips that I want to leave you with. And these are things that I try and keep in mind because as I mentioned before, storytelling doesn't come to me naturally in that way. Step number one, write down and reflect on stories that you can share in different situations. Those can be personal stories, stories from your own career, write stories that might have more facts and other stories that might be more emotion based. They might be long stories, they might be short stories, but just taking the time to reflect on them in advance can really help you when it comes time to actually leveraging them. The second thing I have on here is practising rehearsing, making sure that it feels authentic genuine and that there is some structure to it. You can use the simple structure that I shared, or you can find another structure online. I think a great way to do this is actually by finding role models you think do a good job at storytelling that feels good to you, and you mimic them or you think about how you can leverage some of the approaches that they use. This is also something I do in my work as well. Number three, intentionally look for opportunities to share stories, right? You want to make sure that it's the right context. I mentioned before I do a lot of coaching, you probably know that if you listen to my content, a coaching session is not a great space to do any storytelling, an emergency situation may not be the great place to do some storytelling or tell a story. So really think about where are some of these opportunities, when are some of these meetings that I can share these stories, and you want to make sure that it's the right context. So it has the right impact. Number four, after you tell your story, reflect on the impact, and think about some of the other things that you could do. For example, maybe it would be more impactful if people participated. So I love participatory type things. That's something I try and do quite a bit. And I actually give other people the opportunity to share their stories. So that might be another thing that you can do facilitate so that other people can share stories related to the problem that you're looking to solve. For example, maybe if you got a client to share the impact that your product had, that would really hit home, not just for your other clients, but even maybe for your team, so they can see how important your product is. And number five, After reflecting on the impact by yourself, you can do number five, which is ask for feedback. And I'd recommend that you listen to episode number 78 being the messaging communication, because it probably will be very helpful and give you some thoughts on where you could focus the different tools that you could use and the different things that you could do to emphasise your story as well. This is not a very long episode. But my hope is that you take away the importance of storytelling, and how storytelling can help you truly connect, influence, inspire others, especially those that are under your authority, especially those that maybe have to do something they've never thought they could ever do, or have ever even thought about storytelling can be very impactful for that. I also just wanted to let you know that I've included a few short articles if you want to hear additional perspectives on storytelling, including the science behind storytelling. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen. And I hope that you have a great day. Unknown Speaker 12:11 Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode, please share this episode with someone who can benefit from its contents. If you found this episode helpful, I want to ask you to leave a review. This makes it easier for other people to find my podcast and also allows me to bring on even bigger guests, and even more fascinating stories. Thank you so much for listening again. Stay safe and stay sane


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