Business Storytelling Skills for Workplace Success

Businessman leading presentation at projection screen in conference room meeting
••• Hero Images / Getty Images

Human beings have an innate fascination with storytelling. It begins early in life when parents captivate their young children with bedtime stories. In the oral history tradition, stories passed down facts about one’s past, as well as reinforcing moral lessons for its listeners.

But storytelling has moved out of ancient society and into the business sector. It can be an integral part of an organization’s content strategy, and it can help individuals position themselves for workplace success. As marketing, branding, and sales have developed over time, experts see the merit in business storytelling as a way to build customer loyalty and motivate members of an organization.

What are Business Storytelling Skills?

Storytelling has emerged as a prominent trend in the business world as organizations look to enhance brand awareness and loyalty by telling compelling stories about their products and services. Television commercials often use a story angle to position products and services, and companies tap the digital media with the hope of going viral as part of their content marketing strategy.

Weaving a tale is not just for businesses. The art of storytelling has become an important component of building a personal branding strategy as workers attempt to stand out in a competitive employment market. Employees who develop a compelling storyline have a better chance of advancing within the organization and increasing their compensation. Positioning yourself within the framework of a story can be an important part of a performance appraisal and other documentation of your work.

Types of Business Storytelling Skills

Creating a Mission

Whether for yourself, a team, or a large company, establishing a mission is key to helping you and others focus on core expectations that the world should have for you. Your technical skills, products, and services may change as technology develops, but your mission remains the same.

  • Establishing Corporate Values
  • Building Mission Statements
  • Building Vision Statements
  • Understanding Hidden Needs
  • Self-Awareness
  • Problem Sensitivity

Value Propositions

When you have something to offer, and there exist people that need what you have, you must be able to explain the key benefit(s) of what you have to offer them. Often, this is defined in terms of dollars and cents, but those with business storytelling skills know how to talk financial ROI while also arousing one’s deeper emotions.

  • Financial Statements
  • Explaining Implications
  • Critical Thinking
  • Business Strategy
  • SWOT Analysis
  • Customer Segmentation
  • Knowing Your Audience
  • Sales

Motivation

As someone with business storytelling skills, you should be able to make people around you feel empowered. Even if speaking with a client or hiring manager, you want for that person to feel that they’ve solved their own problems by hiring you. Motivation helps others feel that they can tackle challenges.

  • Positivity
  • Resilience
  • Integrity
  • Collaboration
  • Teamwork
  • Presentation Skills

Branding

Branding is taking a mission and embodying that mission with color, images, and more. It is about building a reputation that others want to be a part of. Branding can be used for advertising, as well as for human resources purposes.

  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Graphic Design
  • Website Design
  • Social Media
  • Charisma
  • Personality

More Business Storytelling Skills

  • Psychology
  • Public Speaking
  • Oral Communication
  • Written Communication
  • Content Marketing
  • Market Research
  • Search Engine Research
  • Business Development
  • Human Resources
  • Creating a Business Plan
  • Resume Building
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Copywriting
  • Differentiation
  • Organization
  • Project Management
  • Leadership
  • Photography
  • Process Management
  • Ongoing Improvement
  • Creativity
  • Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Consistency
  • Integration
  • Automated Marketing Software
  • Digital Asset Management (DAM)
  • Video Marketing
  • Creating Surveys

How to Make Your Skills Stand Out

Add Skills to Your Resume: Integrating storytelling elements into resumes can help to paint a dynamic picture of achievement and overcoming obstacles and enhance the readability of documents.

Highlight Skills in Your Cover Letter: Telling a brief story of a major accomplishment can be done tastefully in your letter. As long as you can tell a story in just a few sentences, this is one of the most effective ways of getting a second look.

Use Skill Words in Your Job Interview: The key to interviewing is providing a hiring manager with concrete examples of how you made a difference at work. Storytelling is the most engaging and convincing way to convey proof that you have made an impact.

Follow Up With a Story: Even after the interview, your follow-up communications will be more effective if you can tell a brief story. You can emphasize how the interview experience spiked your interest in the job even more and then you can go on to convince the hiring manager why you are the ideal candidate for the job.