IF YOU WANT TO INFORM THEM, SEND AN E-MAIL. IF YOU WANT TO INSPIRE THEM, TELL A STORY.
To retain top talent, you need more than competitive salaries or benefits – you need to show them that what they do has meaning. Doing that requires more than data points, or slide decks…it takes a compelling narrative, one that illustrates why it all matters. What you need is a good story, which is simple in theory and difficult in practice – but NOT if you always keep a few things in mind.
HERE ARE SOME SUCCESS FACTORS TO CONSIDER
Make it Relevant
This one may seem obvious, but many employers still prioritize the message over the recipient. The most beautifully crafted story is useless if it gets a bad reaction. A good storyteller thinks about and seeks to understand their audience, their circumstances, and the way they listen to stories – then adapts their message to fit.
Make it Real
Five years ago, Domino’s Pizza ran an ad campaign where they basically said what everyone knew: their pizza sucked, and had for years. But in same ads they also promised to do better, and in the same year they saw market share increase by six percent. The lesson? When you take a risk and make yourself vulnerable, your audience is more likely to trust what it is you have to say.
Make it Personal
From Jesus Christ to TED speakers, all the best storytellers know people are way more likely to remember a story and its lesson if they can see themselves or someone like themselves in it. A single personal anecdote will give a story meaning and context that volumes of data points never will.
Include a Twist
Most of us can remember when we discovered who Luke Skywalker’s father is, or that Bruce Willis was a ghost the whole time. Whether it’s an unconventional set up or a unique takeaway, capitalize on audience expectations to create interesting and memorable surprises.
Make them Feel Something
In the Old World of Work, telling someone “it’s only business” was not only a way to absolve yourself for doing something others won’t like, it also implied that emotions had no place at work, that they should be shoved in a drawer during business hours. Not anymore – if you want your people’s attention you need to make them cry, laugh, or marvel – because that’s how you’ll make them think.
Make it a Habit
Everyone knows intuitively what makes a good story, and instinctively want to tell them. Provide employees with an opportunity to get hands on in the process – either by gathering/recommending stories or participating as an interview subject.
Make it Useful
All stories are essential about one thing: a person trying to solve a problem. How people solve that problem is often just as important as the solution itself. By highlighting the action, you reinforce a lesson, and give the audience something they can use in their own life.
WE ARE MASTER STORYTELLERS. LET US HELP.
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