More important than dealing with facts and figures, good leaders must know how to deal with people. In the ten-plus years of its history, Soap has learned what differentiates leaders who engage and motivate, from those that merely provide followers with data (quickly forgotten after a presentation), and what differentiates the two? The ability to tell a great story.
And so we decided to share with you some important tips for all those leaders who want to be good storytellers in presentations or business meetings.
These are the 6 Principles that Prove Good Storytellers Make Good Leaders:
1) Build a logical line.
Logic is prized in corporate communication, but most logical reasoning tends to be dry and static. So, more than just gathering arguments to move an audience to a certain conclusion, tell a story to establish a cause-and-effect relationship that operates in time, just like what happens in real life. Conveying messages and points by linking causes and effects also helps a leader to develop a broader view of how everything is connected within the living organism: the company.
2) Before being charismatic, be empathetic.
A good leader doesn’t just have good vision and ideas, a good leader also has strong abilities. People need to see a leader as somebody who can roll up his/her sleeves and do hard work. After all, if it’s been done in the past it can be done again now. If you want to be perceived as that able leader, tell stories about when you were in difficult situations and needed to find solutions, creating analogies with business challenges and personal situations to encourage empathy among the audience with the personal stories being told.
3) You are not the hero.
The protagonists of movies are not always the heroes, but they’re always people with willpower and the persistence to achieve their goals. In your stories, the protagonist needs to be your audience or somebody important to your audience. This way you demonstrate that you’re a person who can help the audience overcome challenges and achieve goals.
4) Embrace the conflict.
A corporate presentation becomes monotonous when the presenter chooses to show only the positive side of things, and when goals are presented as met at the outset, one after another, boredom settles in among the audience. The truth is that conflict is part of corporate life as well as day-to-day human life. When you want to align your team around a goal, your role as a leader needs to be to demonstrate that reaching the goal is feasible but not necessarily easy. So understand and explain with transparency the dynamics of the prospective success and failure, without hiding the negatives, and this way you’ll be speaking the truth and making things more interesting and challenging.
5) Emotions exist, like it or not.
It’s common in the workplace to associate emotion with irrationality. But there’s nothing irrational about emotions. They’re simply a natural human response to change, among other things. And a good leader must heed his/her emotions, which can serve as a guide, especially in the critical moments of decision making. After all, when important decisions are communicated, these trigger changes and that prospect will inevitably evoke emotion in the audience. So remember: a good leader must be able to manage the emotions of those he/she leads.
6) Keep the story in mind.
In a presentation, the main tool of a leader is the self. So your posture, voice, gestures, gaze and public speaking ability are essential to conveying emotion, trust and credibility. Slides, charts and bullet points can’t even come close to doing this. So it’s essential that you practice your story as much as possible, so you know it by heart, avoiding the need to have everything displayed in the slides. This is the reason Steve Jobs trained at least eight hours before presenting a new product. And it’s no coincidence that Jobs is seen as a great example of a good leader.