From soap operas to magazines, conferences to nights out with friends, books on a beach to films on a plane, stories are embedded in our everyday lives. Stories enable us to communicate ideas, values, situations and learning in a natural and entertaining way.

Or, as Shannon Schuyler, Chief Corporate Responsibility and Purpose Officer, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) says in an article for the Huffington Post:

“Stories are an essential tool to activate and engage our people. Stories have the ability to connect our work and our world to deeper meaning and a higher purpose.”

Great stories in action

You only need to attend a business conference to see how effective stories can be. The best speakers tell stories to enrich and enliven their talks, so that dry stats or faceless figures become imbued with context and, for lack of a better word, humanity.

Schuyler sees her role as helping employees at PwC form connections between the company’s goals and their own everyday work. This involves:

“Listening to their stories to learn what motivates them and what makes them feel that their work is purposeful.”

How to tell stories – and listen to them too

The challenge is to find the right way to disseminate and receive inspirational stories and well-told case studies that employees can relate to. It’s a problem that digital culture expert Frank Rose discusses in an interview with PSFK.

“I think that digital gives us an incredible new panoply of tools to work with, but I think the challenge of digital is to figure out the right way to use those tools in exciting new combinations, new ways of putting them together in service of the story that is really emotionally engaging, emotionally moving.”

The right tools for the tale

As communication professionals, we certainly have a lot of tools to choose from, from ‘old school’ meetings and emails to the newer more shiny tools of social apps, virtual reality and augmented reality. However, as Rose says:

“The most important thing to remember is it’s not about the tools, ultimately. It’s about having a story that really matters, a story that’s going to engage people and picking the right tools for that story.”

At TalkFreely, our employee network apps are designed to offer your business a choice of ways to both tell and collect stories. Our cloud-based platform for collaborative working and co-creation naturally stimulate the telling of stories, however brief, to illustrate previous solutions or past experiences. As stories emerge, you can also  discover the hidden storytelling talent in your organisation, and consider the best ways for those tales to be told to a wider audience both within and outside your organisation.

If you have a great story to tell, we’d love to hear it. Email us or post a Comment to this blog, to join in the discussion.