The Power of Storytelling Event Highlights


Helen Kuyper at WBII

The Power of Storytelling: Helen Kuyper at the WBII: Women’s Business Initiative The Hague

A friend of mine once mentioned that you should follow your “sparks”.  For everyone, there are special words in conversations, or articles you read that “jump” out at you.  Storytelling does that to me.  Though the concept has been around since the beginning of time, have you noticed it’s becoming a more common word in the business world lately?  The whole concept fascinates me and I suspect this may be the first of many posts I will write specifically on this topic, particularly as it is extremely relevant to social media and marketing.

This particular post was inspired by a wonderful presentation I attended last night at the Women’s Business Initiative in The Hague, The Netherlands.  With the title “Lead with a Story”, if this is a topic you’re interested in, even just reading the workshop description via this link will excite you:

Helen Kuyper was the speaker and her own website, 24/7 Storytelling is a beautiful example of the simple power of words and stories and what they can do:

As with most great workshops I’ve attended, even 24 hours later, my head is still buzzing and processing the information (and of course stories!) she shared with us.  So this post won’t be a comprehensive summary but instead I’ll share just a couple  few of the key notes and learnings that got me thinking. Like any good story, the majority of these need to be taken within context to have more meaning, but perhaps these few little snippets will at least whet your interest to spend some more time considering this topic:

  • The question is not do you tell stories, it is how well you tell stories
  • Stories set off stories – we can’t help it
  • You can tell a story in almost any situation – but tell the right story
  • At a party, people tell stories for the sake of it and to connect.  Businesses can tell stories to achieve something
  • The story is more powerful than the truth….though stories must also be true!  Even if 1% of your story isn’t true, it will discredit the other 99%.
  • Story and telling are two separate things – and both can be learnt
  • It’s not just Hollywood that gives us happy endings – we demand it
  • You need to give people the “ta da”!
  • If it’s a good story – you can remember it
  • There are stories within stories within stories
  • You don’t have to create a story – you already have hundreds
  • If you can combine a personal story, with a local story then global, this is what makes connection and makes you a great storyteller

Reading over that list, I feel that is actually a relatively poor example of the beautiful way all of these points and many more were tied together, but that’s no doubt due to the fact that listening to any story “live” is more powerful than trying to summarise it into a blog post.  Helen also explained that last night’s mini workshop was just a half hour glimpse of a much longer training programme and I can see why – storytelling may seem simple but it’s a concept and skill which you can explore in great depth and uncover valuable treasures.

A huge thank you to Helen, as well as those there who also shared their stories, and in fact – as I’ve written above – stories set off stories .  I love how even thinking about this topic makes me realise how rich our lives are with the many stories around us, and of course our own story.  We are surrounded by stories from the moment we are born and becoming more alert and aware of these, as well as learning a little about how to harness their power is wonderful way to live.

What does “storytelling” mean to you? Renée

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