Storytelling: Speaking Versus Communicating

Today we start our Storied Book Club. In this book club I show up every Friday and share a storytelling insights from my upcoming book Storied: Drive Your Corporate Success Today. Let’s begin with where it all began for me.

Lesson 1 : Speaking versus Communicating

While I was in high school, I lost a debate competition. I was devastated, especially because before the results were announced so many people had walked up to me and said, “You spoke so well.” I was quietly confident that the trophy would be mine but to my shock that didn’t happen.

Perplexed, I went to my teacher. I was hoping that she would tell me the results were unfair,and that I deserved the trophy. Well at least that is the story I wanted to hear.

As I walked into the staff room and made eye contact with my teacher, she looked at me, nodded in acknowledgement that she had seen me. She then excused herself from the staff room where all the other teachers were sitting too. She came to the doorstep where I was standing behind the door looking all sad and gave me a big hug, clutched her two hands around my arms just above the elbow,  looked straight into my eyes and said, “The results were fair (long pause). You spoke well but the person who won the trophy, communicated well.”  I was confused. So confused that I didn’t say a word and with my defeated long face dragged my feet back to the classroom. 

But today, I understand exactly what she meant and when I think of that day, I think that day I was given my first lesson in storytelling. And here is what I learnt,

Make your messages correct. Since we were in school we have been taught to do so. But correct is a given, our key differentiating factor is in how we make these messages connect. When connection happens, communication happens. And storytelling is the best way to communicate and forge that connection. Today, I know that I just gave knowledge in the debate competition and didn’t think of how that knowledge would be relevant to the people I was trying to convince. Ok, I confess, I was only focussed on sounding intelligent. Correct doesn’t always connect and speaking is not communicating.

Now how to storytell? Let’s start learning that from next week onwards. If you find this storytelling insight useful please share and join Storied Book Club by clicking  here

Until then, Stay Storied!

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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"