“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.” ~ Hannah Arendt (source: ethics.org.au)
Over the past 6-months many of my coaching clients have presented with the goal "to better influence".
But what really is influence and how is it best done?
In my view storytelling is THE great tool for influencing - and here's my reasoning...
Influence can be described as a struggle with two (or more) non-aligned points of view. Getting someone to accept a different view can create conflict, particularly if fixed mindsets, strong egos or power plays are involved. Logical thought is good but it can draw lines in the sand that leads to the perception of winners and losers. But logic isn't the only way meaning is derived, is it? Beliefs, assumptions and emotions have a role, too: often, unconsciously.
If we want to influence decision-makers, we can’t just show them some numbers, we have to engage their emotions. We might talk about risk, reputation, consequences, what is "hot", what competitors are doing, we might even appeal to their ambition, dreams and fears. In short, we allow meaning become apparent to them, by them, and for them.
Storytelling is a great tool for deriving meaning.
A story is way more subtle than logic and nobody loses.
Story lets egos rest.
Stories are memorable.
We influence with a story by deliberately NOT 'telling'.