How Great Leaders Tell Compelling and Impactful Stories

Compelling storytelling is one of the most impactful leadership skills.

A study by Uri Hasses of Princeton revealed surprising brain activity in audiences as they listened to a speaker tell a story. The results showed that not only did all of the listeners show similar brain activity during the story, the speaker and the listeners resonated in brain activity despite the fact that one person was producing language and the others were understanding it.

With this insight, research suggests that proper storytelling can allow audience members to think, feel, and respond the same way as a character in the story in a highly motivating way.

Freytag Pyramid

Good storytelling, in graphic form, looks like a pyramid. An interesting story begins with a situation. The action rises throughout the story to reach a climax. And finally, the resolution is found — results are achieved — simulating the emotional journey of showing appreciation. In other words, the storytelling format sets the stage for your audience to appreciate your experiences and accomplishments.

Consider the impact a true story could make on admissions officers when they hear an applicant’s Personal Story, Pivotal Story, Teamwork Story, or Great Work Story, told in the classic plot line format — situation, climax, and resolve. A compelling story can inspire and motivate them to prefer one applicant over others.

Moreover, learning how to tell compelling and impactful stories can help you prepare to be a better leader in the workplace. A 10-year, 100,000-person study conducted throughout the U.S. and Canada by the O.C. Tanner Institute and HealthStream confirms that recognition and appreciation tops the list of things employees say they want most from their employers. According to the study, 79% of employees who quit their jobs cite a lack of appreciation as a key reason for leaving. And of the people who report the highest morale at work, 94.4% agree their managers are effective at recognizing them — telling a story about the great work they’ve done.

Storytelling, with a purpose, is key to being a good leader. In fact, it is a fundamental element of progress — when we hear how others overcame problems or situations, ideas begin to fill our heads, inspiration fills our hearts, and actions begin to create the stories that will be remembered and shared.

An experienced Pandahug Educational Consultant can assist you in your university applications by helping you to craft winning stories in your application essays, choose your schools and subject specialization, and meet admission requirements. Contact us at today to rewrite your future!



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