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Unleash Your Leadership Potential: How Storytelling Can Help You Inspire and Motivate Your Team

How Storytelling Can Help You Inspire and Motivate Your Team
How Storytelling Can Help You Inspire and Motivate Your Team

How Storytelling Can Help You Inspire and Motivate Your Team

Think back to the last time you were truly moved by a story you heard. Maybe it was a heartwarming tale that tugged on your emotions. It could have been a story about overcoming impossible adversity. Maybe it was even a tragic tale of loss and redemption. Whatever the case may be, stories have a unique power to evoke emotion and connect us with others.

Most ideas are presented using data. While data has the potential to persuade people, stories have the power to move people.

Storytelling isn’t just limited to books and movies. It is a powerful and underutilized tool that can help you achieve your business goals. Whether you're trying to motivate your team, paint your vision for the future, or connect everyone together through your Reason for Being and Core Values, try tapping into the power of storytelling.

Why are stories so effective?

Stories stick with us long after we've heard them. They’re one of the oldest and most universal forms of communication. Stories have been used throughout history to teach lessons, share values, and create bonds. They have the power to break down barriers and build trust. And let’s not forget – stories have the power to drive people to action. When we hear a compelling story, we're more likely to be motivated to take action than if we simply hear a list of data, facts, and figures.

Consider almost any non-profit organization. Instead of simply listing statistics about the need for donations and listing what the donations will help fund, they tell stories about the people they've helped. Oftentimes, they share photos and videos of individuals and communities whose lives have been transformed. Can you hear the Sarah McLachlan song in your head while you’re reading this? By telling stories, these organizations are able to connect with donors on an emotional level and motivate them to take action.

When leaders present ideas to people, they too often construct their messages to let people KNOW things. Instead, the goal should be constructing a message to get people to DO things. In order to move people to DO things, there has to be an emotional investment in the idea.

Team Building Activities for High-Performing Organizations 

What stories should you consider sharing?

Now that you understand the benefits of storytelling, it’s time to start identifying your stories to share. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Personal stories: Stories about yourself, your experiences, or your opinions. These stories can help you establish rapport, show vulnerability, and express your values.
  • Success stories: Stories about your projects, your products, or your services that have achieved positive outcomes. These can help you showcase your results, highlight your products, and inspire confidence.
  • Failure stories: Stories about your mistakes, your learnings, or your improvements. These will demonstrate humility, show responsibility, and allow you to share insights.
  • Culture stories: Stories about your Reason for Being, Core Values, or Vision. These stories will help you rally everyone toward a common purpose, generate buy-in, or motivate action.

How do you craft a compelling story?

Just like any strategic plan you develop, it’s important to have a specific end-goal in mind. When you sit down to craft your story, begin by asking yourself these questions:

  • Who is my audience?
  • What do I want my audience to feel?
  • What do I want my audience to know?
  • What do I want my audience to do? For example, do you want them to take a specific action, reflect on a thought-provoking question, or provide feedback on an idea or solution?

Once you’ve identified your goal, use it as the basis for what you’re going to say and how you’re going to present it. For a story to be effective, you need to be sure you articulate your message in a simple, focused, and relatable way.

Here are the 5 pieces to every compelling story:

  • Start with a Hook

Your story should start with a hook that grabs the listener's attention. This could be a surprising fact, a vivid description, or a provocative question. For example, did you know that people forget more than 40% of the information you tell them by the very next day and 90% of the information you tell them after a week has passed?

  • Follow a Structure

A good story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. The beginning should set the scene and introduce the characters, the middle should build tension and conflict, and the end should provide a meaningful resolution.

  • Use Sensory Details and Authenticity

To make your story come alive, use sensory details to describe the setting, characters, and events. Describe specific sights, sounds, or smells. This will help your listener visualize the story and feel like they're a part of it. You can also connect on a personal level by expressing vulnerability, joy, determination, or empathy.

  • Include Dialogue

Dialogue can bring your story to life and make it more engaging. Use direct quotes from others to add depth to your story. It will help you show personalities, emotions, and motivations. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable in your dialogue.

  • End with a Call to Action

Finally, your story should end with a clear and compelling call to action. Remember the question you asked yourself in the beginning: what do you want your listener to do after hearing your story?

Bring your story full circle by linking it to your purpose and your message.


We all have a story to tell. Your story has the power to create change, motivate others, and illustrate the future vision of your workplace. Here is your personal call to action: embrace your inner storyteller. Everyone in your workplace is waiting for your compelling narrative to inspire continuous improvement and incite action. Why wait?

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About Author

Kate Rehling
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