We all enjoy hearing a great story. It is something we have done since time began. Yet when it comes to great verbal storytelling, it is generally not something we associate with our careers.
While the concept of verbal storytelling in a work context may seem lightweight, it is actually a very powerful tool to assist in elevating your career and/or securing a new job.
Storytelling and the job search
When it comes to a job search, you are effectively sharing the story of your work history via the written word, and then physically and verbally through the interview. If, like so many people, you find that you are let down at the interview stage, it may be time to assess your verbal storytelling skills.
Through my recruitment experience, the candidates who communicated a compelling story of their work history and their work goals in the interview were those most likely to be offered the job. They managed to do this within the parameters of the interview process: sticking to time, giving detailed responses and so on. Unfortunately, if you don’t find your own work experience, skills and career interesting, and manage to communicate this with some sense of energy and enthusiasm, it is unlikely the interviewer will!
Remember: when it comes to the interview process it is hard to bypass the candidate who is a great raconteur!
Storytelling and elevating your career
Generally people find good verbal storytellers endearing. They educate, entertain, calm and inspire via their stories. Irrespective of whether you are looking to take on a leadership role in your career, being able to tell a good story can help get people on your side and make for a more pleasant working environment.
If you reflect upon those leaders around you, no doubt the majority of them will have good verbal storytelling skills. This can be demonstrated via presentations, meetings, gatherings and a one-on-one interaction.
Take a moment to reflect on your storytelling skills in the workplace. How would you rate yourself out of 10? (One being rather terrible and 10 being brilliant!)
Ways to improve your storytelling skills
Developing verbal storytelling skills is an ongoing process for most of us. Some ways you can do this include:
Consider those around you who are great storytellers. Observe them in more detail and even ask them how they developed this skill so successfully. Solicit their tips.
When watching TV or sitting in a meeting, take note of how those good storytellers communicate verbally.
If you don’t already do so, subscribe to the TED presentations to view all different storytellers from around the world. Generally these stories are related to some aspect of their careers.
If you lack confidence in your storytelling abilities, consider joining a Toastmasters public speaking group or undertaking a public speaking program. There are also voice coaches around and storytelling training companies.
Learn how to project your voice. It’s great tool for those looking to secure leadership roles. In his graduate days my husband worked for one of Australia’s leading businessmen, who told the graduates to take acting classes to learn how to project their voices.
I invite you to incorporate more storytelling into your worklife.