Becoming professionally story-curious develops those all-important critical-listening skills. Regardless of your professional discipline. Also, those critical-listening skills are important to fine-tuning your overall critical-thinking skills.
So, recall what happens when another professional tells a story. Do you lean in, and become curious about what’s next? Or, do you tune out and turn off? Either because their storytelling style:
- Is all about them, instead of all about you: their colleague, stakeholder or client?
- Or, is told as an objective and third-party recitation rather than in an active voice which grabs your attention?
- And then, wanders all over the place, without a clear objective and focus?
You know, it works both ways. Do the stories you tell create curiosity or disconnection? Think about it.
Even when the story is not relevant to you, being professionally story-curious allows you to analyze that story. Here’s how.
First, determine whether you have any interest in the story, at all. After all, the focus of some professional stories is strictly persuasive. And, the anticipated outcome of that story is client acquisition. End of story. These stories are the buying and selling stories we all are used to hearing. Yet, some of these stories “click” with us. Others simply are unremarkable and not very memorable, at all.
Next, ponder whether the story details make sense? Or, does the case being made sound forced, rather than air-tight? Is there a logical progression and flow of information? Most importantly, can you relate to any of the scenarios in that story?
Also, is story vocabulary understandable and relevant to your own, professional context? Alternatively, is that story so full of business slang or STEM terminology that you are uncomfortable? Story language either is inclusive or exclusive.
Even if that story is driving you absolutely crazy, listen to why you lose interest. Then, assess whether what you just learned from that other person’s storytelling acumen helps you tell more compelling and relevant stories. Storytelling is a mission-critical component of not only your own professional development trajectory, but also your organization’s human capital strategy.
Becoming professionally story-curious develops your own storytelling skills, in conversations and presentations.
- Do you sound conversational and natural? Or stilted and uncomfortable? Are your stories accessible to all, or professionally exclusive?
- Learn more about turning the stories you currently tell into stories that engage and compel. Incorporate storytelling into your professional development trajectory, today.
- Click on this link and let’s start storytelling. So you get to where you need to go, together with me!
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 tools, 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
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