Advice for Women Leaders: How to Get Your Big Idea Remembered… and Repeated

Whether you’re speaking at an industry conference, leading a team meeting or position an idea via teleconference, listeners say there is usually not a clear takeaway, ideas are hard to follow and as a result, most communicators aren’t memorable.

In my third book, Storylines and Storytelling: What They Remember and Repeat, I address this issue and emphasize the need to couple your bigger idea with a compelling story. The storyline, or the “secret sauce,” acts as the framework for the flow of the rest of your ideas with specific details to illustrate your main point. The stories you incorporate along the way are what make you memorable and repeatable.

People who like to tell stories usually say it comes natural for them. It helps them connect to an audience and drive a point home. People who don’t tell stories say it makes them uncomfortable because they don’t have the polished presentation skills. They worry that the story will fall flat and not connect with the listener. It sounds like there is no middle ground, but there is and that’s why I’ve written this book and coach leaders like you on storytelling.

Storytelling isn’t a skill that’s reserved for those who are born with it. To be an effective storyteller, it’s important that you:

  • Be listener-centric. Understand the mindset of the listener. Listeners need to be able to imagine themselves in your story.
  • Recognize that it’s not about what I think, it’s what will make you think. Be purposeful about translating stories and map out how an idea will be compelling to others.
  • Understand that there is a skill and an order to telling a story. You have to create an experience and lead listeners to an amazing discovery.
  • Stay on track. Stories have to drive to a point and storytellers need to know where the ending is.
  • Be empathetic. Stories are designed to draw response and reaction from listeners.

By following these five recommendations, your listeners will remember your story as well as the larger message that holds it together. Mastering the skill of storytelling will allow you to be a more effective communicator, and it turn, a stronger leader. It is a powerful feeling to be confident in your speaking abilities. But remember: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

By Sally Williamson

To learn more about the art and science of storytelling, you can go and order a copy of Storylines and Storytelling: What They Remember and Repeat. You can also register for our Connecting Stories to Storylines program, which introduces and coaches the fundamentals of a compelling storyline and memorable story.

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