Are you telling compelling stories or relying on lecturing your story to get your point across?
Let’s face it, about the last thing STEM professionals and left brain thinkers want to do is tell a story. Why?
First, because the very notion of storytelling makes STEM professionals and left brain thinkers uncomfortable. After all, the stories they tell rely on data, facts, findings, observations and outcomes to tell the entire story. Shouldn’t that be sufficient?
Next, the entire educational process is full of teachers and professors and meetings which reinforce lecture-style presentations: both written and verbal. What you see, over and over again throughout your career, reinforces how you do it. If it works for them, shouldn’t the same style work for you?
Except, when STEM and left brain thinkers tell less-than compelling stories to audiences from mixed workforce disciplines, well, stuff gets lost in translation.
Do you make these three key mis-assumptions? Do you:
- Assume that everyone listening to you, or reading your words or slide deck, understands the terminology used to tell the story?
- Then, assume that everyone processes information the same way you do. Consider that everyone may not deploy the same logic system and analytical mindset to make decisions and arrive at conclusions. At all.
- Also, you assume that the outcomes from data are blatantly obvious to everyone.
Consider that the relevance of your lectured stories may be less-than-obvious to perhaps half the people listening to or reading them. If not more. As a result, people tune you out. Because your lecture style of story makes them feel marginalized, excluded or even outright intimidated.
It just could be that lecturing your story is not telling compelling stories, at all.
Like storytelling, lecturing involves three key elements: content, style and intent. And you and I have just discussed how story content often falls short of being understood by cross-discipline audiences.
What is the translational value of your story content to audiences of co-workers, colleagues, investors, employers, and clients?
When you hug the lectern, or hide behind it (and not even venture to one side or the other) you create a barrier. Between you and your audience. While your delivery style makes you feel comfortable, the audience feels disengaged and separated from your story.
How is employee experience and client and customer experience delivered in your storytelling style?
If the intent of your lectured story is to showcase how brilliant you, your team and your products and services are, all righty, then. Your audience gets your point, because the story is all about you.
Do you stop your story short, at the moment you need to connect your story to internal and external stakeholders and clients?
Story lecturing is a professional habit that can create barriers to communication and collaboration. And, all habits can be broken, with a little bit of retooling and recalibrating.
If the stories you tell, on your professional resume, in written communications and proposals, during meetings, at conferences fall short of the desired outcome, change your story. By learning how to tell compelling stories. Instead of lecturing your stories. Often, small pivots in your current comfort level result in greater visibility, relevance and value. To the internal and external stakeholders with whom you serve.
Take the next steps.
- Planning your next team, corporate or association meeting? Engage me to present one of my Storytelling for STEM Professionals and Left Brain Thinkers speaking programs, workshops or moderated facilitation services. Contact me here.
- Download my new checklist and worksheet: Six Professional Development Targets to Hit each Month.
- Subscribe to my blog. Share your email address in the red box in the right column of this blog. Never miss another insightful post.
Babette Ten Haken’s One Millimeter Mindset® Storytelling for STEM Professionals and Left Brain Thinkers Speaking Programs target purpose-driven professional success. Become more visible, relevant and valuable to your organization.
Find out more about Babette’s professional story here. Babette is a member of SME, ASQ, SHRM and the National Speakers Association. Her playbook of communication hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com. Babette’s speaker profile is on the espeakers platform. Contact Babette here.
Image source: Adobe Stock