If you look at the greatest stories – from movies, books, fables – you will realize that they have six essential components. The good news is, if you can incorporate these 6 elements into the business setting, through what we call “corporate storytelling”, you will notice these outcomes.
- Your message STICKS!
Your staff will actually remember your stories, sometimes to the most minute details that you don’t even expect!
- Your message SPREADS!
Your team will retell your story at every opportunity they get, creating the “viral” effect.
- Your message SELLS!
Your prospects and customers will be influenced by your story, easing the sales process.
Now that we’ve got your interest piqued, let’s look at the 6Cs, and how you can easily add it to your presentations. Remember, don’t even think for once that stories will make you less professional. The truth is, we all love stories, and as long as it’s within the context, it is highly welcomed and effective!
And to make it simple to understand, let’s wrap an actual case study around this. In this example, imagine we’re trying to get approval from the top management to open a childcare center within the company’s premise.
The First C | Circumstance
What’s the background story? What’s the setting? What’s the context? Here’s where you lay the groundwork, and set up the story.
Statistics show that 87% of working mothers within our company have to rush back to pick up their children from daycare, and 42% of the emergency leaves that were taken were because they wanted to care for their sick child at home.
The Second C | Curiosity
Now that you’ve made your statement, employ some elements of curiosity to continue to engage your audience.
Now, what if the working mothers do not have to rush back, putting their own safety at risk, and for once giving them a peace of mind? Imagine how it will help them focus better at their work, enhancing productivity and effectiveness at the same time. Research has shown that an employee free of mental distractions can outperform one that is plagued with worries by over 5 times!
The Third C | Characters
It’s always easier to boost relatability from the audience by introducing some characters. Not only will this help to connect the situation to a face(s), but it also enables your audience to picture themselves in the situation.
Take Kelly, for example. She was involved in a major car accident last month and is still resting at home due to her inability to walk. The reason? A last minute team meeting for the upcoming product launch that she had to chair.
The Fourth C | Conversations
Taking the characters to the next level, add in some conversations to enhance the reliability further.
“She obviously was rushing through the presentation and couldn’t focus on the details”, said Fazil, one of the managers in the meeting. Other team members used words and phrases like “anxious”, “worries” and “constantly looking at the time” when describing the situation when they found out about the accident.
The Fifth C | Conflict
Nobody likes a story that’s smooth sailing from beginning to the end. Where’s the suspense? The drama? The twist?
When we visited Kelly at the hospital a few hours after the accident, she was crying and frankly, was all over the place. At one hand she was worried about the product launch, and even though her family was with her, she was concerned about their wellbeing. At one point, she even started doubting herself and wanted to give up, but luckily, we managed to assure her that all was good, and she just needed to rest. The doctor had to give her something to ease her shock from the accident.
The Sixth C | Convert
What’s good of a story if it doesn’t drive home a point, or get the audience to act on something? Here’s where the effectiveness of the presentation hinges on, because you’ve got the audience through the roller coaster of the story, and you’ve got them excited. It’s time to lay down the hammer and go in for the ask.
A bunch of the working mothers here, together with Regine from HR, came up with the idea to convert that vacant half-unit on the 5th floor into a daycare center. Guna from finance has looked through the numbers, and since we’ve got at least 20 mothers giving us a sound YES to the idea, he thinks the center is self-sustaining. From the responses, we know the parents (even the dads) are supportive, and imagine how it would help in projecting our company as one that takes care of the well fare of employees. No more frantic rushes, no more unnecessary accidents. All we need now if your green light, and we will work on getting the quotes for the renovation.
Most of the Cs do not have to be in a set sequence, but for the last C, Convert, it has to be in the end. You will have to use the other Cs (in any order as long as the story has a good flow) to drum up the interest and build up the suspense, before you go in for the ask.
In most of our Slick Presentation programs, whenever we share this structure of corporate storytelling, our participants simply loved it. Some commented on its simplicity, others on how practical it is that it can be used across different settings. One of the GM of a major bank even remarked during the session that he could use the same technique for a short 5-minute speech, and also for a 1-day management retreat.
If you want to explore how our corporate storytelling methods and models can help you raise the bar for your people’s presentations, let’s talk further. Whether it’s a public workshop to a customized in-house solution, our team of organization development specialist will be able to cater to your learning needs.