Be a Storyteller

Writing is tricky stuff. Communicating within a corporate setting can be even harder. You have to be professional, while getting your point across and somehow instigate action. This all has to be accomplished in a succinct way, more often than not as a series of e-mails.

So how can you engage your colleagues and employees? Consider yourself a storyteller, not a messenger.

A storyteller gives the reader the right about of background information to understand what’s going on, and form a personal connection to the future events. It’s the best communication style for strengthening your brand and strategies.

Take this messenger-style e-mail:
Hi team,
During this morning’s meeting, the division supervisors decided to re-focus our internal communications strategy to improve employee engagement. Make sure to reply to this e-mail with at least four ideas of how to do this by Friday.

While you may not want to shoot this messenger, no one’s happy to receive this type of e-mail. Sure, it’s succinct. But it leaves lots of room for doubt and misunderstanding. To engage colleagues and employees, think — and then write — like a storyteller!

Hi team,
As you may know, I had the pleasure of meeting with our division supervisors this morning to discuss our internal communications strategy. I raised your concerns that we need to hone this strategy, and they expressed their desire to increase overall employee engagement at our organization.

We believe the best course of action is to focus our communications on employee engagement. But we need YOUR ideas to succeed. I want to hear your input on how you would like to develop this strategy. Please send them along by Friday — I’m looking forward to reading them!

This writing “hooks” the reader into the new strategy, prepares them for change and also excites them to share ideas. While it may take a bit more effort at first, the responses will be more effective and energetic.

What do you think? Do you think writing like a storyteller improves the message?


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