Projects at Work

Lead With A Story

Better than a slide presentation, a good story can inspire and instruct. For project leaders, the ancient art of storytelling is a neglected tool for explaining initiatives and motivating teams. And if you’re not sure you’ve got a story to tell or the ability to tell it, here are nine tips for overcoming the biggest barriers to getting started.

Many of the most successful organizations on the planet — Microsoft, Nike, 3M, FedEx, Disney, P&G and NASA among them — use storytelling as a training, communications and leadership tool. There are many reasons storytelling is so effective as a leadership tool, starting with the fact that stories inspire, says leadership trainer Paul Smith, who has written a new book on the subject entitled Lead With A Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives that Captivate, Convince, and Inspire (AMACOM; August 2012).

Stories also teach. Studies show that up to 70 percent of new skills and information acquired in the workplace comes through informal learning. “And the…

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