Paul Smith’s book, Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire, builds on thought leadership (references below), with tools to develop effective business narratives in response to 21 business challenges and “five 5 E” leadership scenarios:
• Envision Success
• Environment for Winning
• Energize the Team
• Educate People
• Empower Others
Smith explains that business effective stories are:
• Easy to understand
• Segue easily into appropriate learning modes for various ways of taking in information
• Compatible with business discourse
• “contagious” (amenable to retelling and viral broadcast such as the “purposeful narrative” discussed by Peter Guber – see previous posting below)
He explains “four levels of discourse” to understand story as a rhetorical device, and suggests using more than one of these in memorable business stories:
• Exposition explains with information
• Description makes vivid with compelling details
• Narration tells a story or explains a sequence
• Argumentation convinces with logic or evidence.
In addition to these elements, Smith recommends weaving in:
• Surprise “to sear the entire story in your audience’s long-term memory” because memories consolidate shortly after an event (or its story) happens
• Specific, familiar examples of outcomes that have occurred to individuals like themselves, and vivid individual characterizations
• Style: Use the CAR mnemonic to “drive” a story:
o Context: Sufficiently-detailed time and location of the story to “set the stage” for dramatic action and “lesson”
o Action: Catalyst, turning point, climax and final action towards resolution
o Result: The outcome, and its importance or “lesson learned.
Smith’s book joins an expanding list of valuable references to increase business narrative impact:
- Business Storytelling = Trance Induction?
- Lessons from Business Storytelling in Constructive Personal Narrative
- Why and How of Business Storytelling
- Five Elements to Construct a Good Story
-*What elements do you consider when crafting a business story for greatest impact?