Storytelling is a major buzzword in internal communications.
That's because stories are the key to crafting messages that have a real impact within an organization.
Corporate storytelling can help give meaning, purpose, and heart to our everyday work. It can help contextualize the efforts of the organization and align employees with your company's vision.
But it’s not easy.
Especially when the stories you want to tell, aren’t yours.
So we asked some of the best communicators and storytellers we know how to get employees involved in corporate storytelling.
Here’s what they had to say*:
1. Ask about other people
Find out individual perspectives from the team. Most of the team will be more open to talking about the team as a whole or their team members, over what they themselves have done. Make sure you find out what they are saying about each other, why the team matters, the part they play, and where they fit into the organization.”—Christopher Swan, Founder and Host of My Big Story Podcast
2. Ask about experiences
Most people don’t walk around thinking they have a great story to share. Instead of asking them to share their story, ask about their experiences. Ask them a direct question to narrow it down and to share an experience related to the topic. You need to ease people into it.”—Ally Bunin, Global Head of Internal Communications, Russell Reynolds Associates
3. Be specific
Start interviews with an easy question to get them comfortable. I break things into small pieces. Don’t ask, what’s your life story or tell me more about you? Nobody knows how to answer that. Ask specific questions."—Christopher Swan, Founder and Host, My Big Story Podcast
4. Help them see the story
People often don’t realize they have a story to tell, so you have to help them realize that in the first place. Most people think their stories are ordinary, and those ones are often the most interesting and relatable and helpful.”—Chuck Gose
5. Ease them into it
Use warm-up questions. Really simple things like how long have you lived here, how long have you worked at the company, or when did you start working on this. It may not be related to what you are trying to get to, but you may find some nuggets, and it gets them comfortable.”—Christopher Swan, Founder and Host, My Big Story Podcast
6. Have a conversation
People are more likely to share with you if you give them the safety of looking it over first. Giving them a conversational atmosphere will put people at ease and makes them more likely to share their story with you.”—Chuck Gose
Corporate storytelling doesn't have to be complicated.
If you can be present and authentic in your conversation with employees, you’ll be overflowing with great stories that can bring your organization and employees closer together.