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Being a Good Storyteller Could Boost Your Career

Topics: Career Advice

You understand the importance of building a professional network for achieving career success. You also know that soft skills related to social and emotional intelligence can make or break a career. But, did you know that there is one skill that could help you with all of these things and more? Being a great storyteller could do wonders for your career. Here are a few of the reasons why.

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  1. It opens the door for more authenticity.

Whether folks can relate to your stories or not, there is something about watching someone open up and share a tale that is pretty endearing. They are trying to share something meaningful, and that in turn makes us want to share something with them. A good story (or even a bad one) paves the way for more of the same. Before you know it, the stories are flying, and genuine connections are being forged as a result. In any business, people respond to authenticity. Taking the time to share a story rather than just state the facts promotes better, realer, more authentic communication and connection – things that would be a benefit to any business.

  1. It could help you get a job.

A recent article by Susan Edmunds explored the benefits of storytelling during the job search process. She spoke with Gabby Dolan, who’s written a book on the subject, and who said that storytelling could make all the difference when going through the interview process.

“The biggest mistake people make is they just regurgitate all the information on their resume in an interview,” Dolan told Edmunds. “You’ve obviously ticked all the boxes – qualifications, skills and experience – to get there, you now have the opportunity to demonstrate more than that.”

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  1. It allow you to hint at the best parts of your nature.

Contrary to what some might assume, work stories aren’t necessarily the best stories for the workplace. Actually, you might find that stories from your personal life work best in this context. Stories allow us to show people who we are rather than just telling them directly. In other words, you can tell your colleague that you’re great at marketing, but she’s more likely to believe you if you instead share a story that indicates as much. The same goes during interviews.

“People usually tell work-related stories, such as a time they managed a project,” Dolan told Edmunds, “but very few think how they can use a personal story and still get their capabilities and values across. But if they can do that, it gives them the capacity to stand out in a job interview.”

  1. It demonstrates good “people skills.”

People skills are very important in the business world. Your ability to connect is essential for working in teams or with clients. Folks who are good with people tend to be, at least to some extent, storytellers. Stories help build empathy and compassion in others (because the listener is put into the shoes of the speaker) so people with high emotional intelligence might elect to lean on them from time to time. Telling good stories could be an indicator that you posses the emotional skills employers value. So, whether you’re interviewing or already comfy in a position, show off those people skills by telling a riveting story now and again.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you think that becoming a better storyteller could impact your career? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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Timothy Lynn BurchfieldGabrielle Dolan Recent comment authors
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Gabrielle Dolan
Gabrielle Dolan

Thanks Gina for the quotes. A good article. Beside the book I also have an online program that explores the 4 types of stories you need, the process of finding the right stories and how to share them effectively in job interviews. Plus a whole heap of other stuff that hopeful candidates may find useful, such as how to answer that tricky questions “what is your greatest weakness?’

Timothy Lynn Burchfield
Timothy Lynn Burchfield

Stories connect people and add “real life” examples of our thoughts and goals.

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