My Boss Won’t Like Me Storytelling

“Anjali, I love what you are teaching here today. I will definitely use storytelling skills to inspire my team and engage my customers but I will never use it in front of my boss.” Now that is not uncommon for me to hear. If you feel this way, this blog series is for you.

This bog series titled, My Boss Won’t Like Me Telling a Story is a guide to help you make your messages stick in front of stakeholders. Each blog is written to cover single learning point only. So, treat these series as – one learning a day.

What Kind of Stories do Bosses want to hear?

We tell stories to inspire, engage, motivate and influence. When it comes to bosses drop the first three which are inspire, engage and motivate. The only thing I focus on when telling a story to bosses is – Influence Decisions.

A good question you should now be asking yourself is – What kind of Story can I tell to influence a decision? 

These stories mostly happen to be insightful stories that can help with

  • TIME :Saving Time
  • IMAGE : Making an organisation, leadership team or brand that you work for look good
  • MONEY: Reducing Cost or Making Profit

Over the years I have developed a funny way ensuring that we follow this rule. I often ask my clients,” Is this a story for TIM?”

TIM is just a abbrevation  for Time, Image and Money.

So, what is an insight?

Cognitive psychologist Gary Klein has said that ‘insight is when you unexpectedly come to a better story.

Here is an example of an insightful story.

*Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, 1990’s. A nurse has been watching a newborn for several hours. Suddenly, the baby turns dark blue, almost black. The medical team immediately calls for a doctor and a radiologist and prepare to intervene, convinced that it is a pulmonary collapse – a wide-spread problem for babies placed under artificial respiration – and where a hole has to be made into the chest, in order to insert a tube and suck out the air in order to allow the lungs to fill up again.

But the nurse is convinced that it’s a heart problem. As soon as she saw the baby’s color, she’s suspected that he was suffering a pneumopericardium: air filling the pocket around the heart and stopping it from beating. She therefore tries to stop her colleagues’ preparations screaming “It’s the heart!”. But her colleagues point at the heart monitor showing that the baby’s heart is beating normally. She insists, pushes their hands away and orders them to be quiet placing a stethoscope on the child’s chest.

Not a sound. The heart is not beating.

A neonatal surgeon enters the room and the nurse immediately hands him a syringe. “Pneumopericardium. Prick the heart.” The radiologist, who has just received the test results, confirms the nurse’s diagnostic. The surgeon inserts the syringe into the heart and slowly releases the air pocket preventing it from beating. The baby is safe.

Later, the team understood why the monitor had misled them: it was measuring the electrical activity commanding the heart beats, and this had not stopped: the heart was simply unable to respond to it because of the air pocket pressure.

Medically, the story above teaches important lessons. It instructs people in how to spot and treat the specific condition Pneumopericardium.

Key Takeaways 

  • Look for a story that provides an insight
  • Check if this insight helps TIM
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"I attended your story telling course some time back. And I've enjoyed keeping up my knowledge with your blog. You may not have realised however, that the Whole of Government is implementing Internet Seperation. Hence I'm not able to access the links to read your articles. Could I suggest including a QR code in your emails so that I can use my mobile to scan it and gain immediate access to the article? It would be most helpful"