Would you immediately recognise a Vincent Van Gogh painting? Yes, his brushstrokes, use of colour, dynamism – so uniquely him. It’s not tidy and painterly.
Have you heard of the artist Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres? Possibly not, unless you studied art history. Ingres’ compositions are smooth and perfect. He abhorred anything improvised and messy.
Guess who changed the course of art and whose name lives on even today. Hint, It’s not Ingres!
In business storytelling, that smooth Ingres-like perfection is what you must avoid. Why?
I advise my clients that stories are different from other communication forms. Stories work best when we don’t nail down every word, work from a script or memorise it. These three techniques doom your story to fail.
A golden rule is never to learn your story by heart, word for word. Swotting kills your story, making it sound mechanical.
Am I recommending flying by the seat of your pants? Absolutely not!
Do the preparation to create a well-structured story that lands on message. Then deliver it in a conversational way that engages your audience. This allows you to find the balance between structure and authenticity.
‘Art is the lie that tells the truth’ Picasso once said; making something look spontaneous often takes an awful lot of preparation and work.
I recommend learning only the beginning and your ending but leaving the middle more organic.
You want to start strong, so learning your first line helps you manage your nerves and get off to a flying start.
Endings are what you leave your audience with. The right ending lands your story and can turn an average story into a blockbuster. So it is important you don’t ramble or leave this to chance but stick to the script.
Nailing your beginning and ending, but being conversational with your middle puts you in the story sweet spot, illustrated in the model and in my book Story Mastery.
To be a story artist, channel less Ingres and more van Gogh!
What is your experience? Do you think it’s better to tell business stories in a natural, conversational way rather than memorizing every word?
Would you like to be more Van Gogh with your stories? Then check out my Storytelling Masterclass and let’s chat.
Discover stories from leaders like you, who have applied these simple steps and achieved career-defining business results. Storytelling is not a natural gift, but a skill you can learn.