Why is Business Storytelling still not taught in universities?

Carolina Eslava

Speaker trainer
6 March, 2023

Discover how business storytelling can boost your effective communication skills.

“Telling stories is a fundamental activity of human beings. The more difficult the situation, the more important it is” – Tim O’Brien.

As a business leader in 2023, you are expected to not only have the ability to lead your business, align it with its purpose and deliver good financial results, but also be an excellent communicator; however, communication for leaders is not easy.

Throughout more than 25 years advising senior executives, their comment is always “why aren’t we taught these techniques in university or postgraduate studies?”. The truth is, I don’t know. But what I do know is that they are essential skills to help you achieve the rest of your objectives.

One of the fundamental skills today is the ability to persuade the various stakeholders that the vision and strategy you define as CEO or President of the company are the correct ones. From employees to investors, authorities to consumers, all audiences need to understand and be convinced of their leader’s decisions. This is where effective communication is crucial, and the best tool to achieve it is business storytelling.

Some confuse storytelling with telling stories or anecdotes, but it is much more than that. Nor is it a list of dates, facts and figures about the company. This data is relevant, but it is the story behind them that really matters.

Business storytelling is a tool that uses narrative techniques to facilitate an emotional response and establish meaningful connections with audiences.

From my perspective, the company’s story is built from several questions: What is the origin behind the creation of the company? How has it evolved over the years? How has it faced challenges and opportunities?

The key to creating a good business story is to identify what makes the company unique and build a narrative around it. It can be based on different models:

  1. The foundational story
  2. Our values
  3. What we will become
  4. The founder’s vision
  5. Loss and recovery
  6. The purpose

A narrative doesn’t need to be chronological: A good story doesn’t need to be chronological, it starts when something captures the imagination. That “something” can be anything, from a moment of inspiration to a serious problem that the company has overcome. The important thing is to find that moment and use it as a starting point to build a strong narrative that engages the audience.

In business storytelling, it’s important to be authentic and honest. The way to make the story credible and memorable is by telling true facts that show the human side of the company and demonstrate what it’s made of.

As a summary, a good business story starts when something happens that sparks the imagination. Identifying that moment and building a solid narrative around it can make a difference in the success of the next big project.

I hope you find this reflection useful and feel inspired to tell the story of your company.

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