Narrative therapy and different types of story telling appear to be hot topics at present. An outstanding contribution to the discussion is Stephen Denning’s new revision of The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative. The book extends far beyond business and argues that communicating and leading with stories often is more successful than trying to move others with facts, charts, documents and bullet points. Using stories (not surprising), and drawing on research, Denning shows how well-told stories can be used to:
- motivate others to action
- build trust
- transmit values
- get others working together
- build your brand (especially using stories and social media)
- share knowledge
- tame rumors
- create and share a vision, and
- stimulate innovation.
The author describes how different kinds of stories are needed for reaching each of the above goals. He shows how storytelling has become a central component of leadership, teaching and people-helping. The book ties story telling to the ways in which social media are transforming how we impact others and are enabled make a difference.
Clearly I like this book and think it’s practical, useful and worth recommending. It includes good stories and could have value for your work and communication. But should I recommend that you read it? Busy people have limited time to read books, especially long books. And for every volume we read many others must be passed over. In an age of information tsunamis how do we keep up without being swamped?
In choosing what to read, I look at reviews and sometimes meander in a bookstore to see what is new. I respond to recommendations from my friends and I often ask myself if or how reading some book could be beneficial. At times I pray about my reading, asking God to guide. Then I make my decisions.
Here’s are three questions. How do you use stories to impact others? How do you select what you read? If you’ve read Denning’s book what did you think? Please click on Write comment to share your observations or your story.