What’s Your "Story"? » Mind Tools Blog

What’s Your “Story”?

November 18, 2013

©GettyImages/JustinPumfrey

Stories help bring ideas to life – they can help us grasp concepts, and provide clarity in complex situations.

In previous Expert Interviews, Paul Smith and Annette Simmons (both premium members only) encouraged us to use narrative in the workplace, giving compelling reasons why. They told us when stories can be used effectively and even how to craft them.

In our newest Expert Interview podcast (premium members only), Ty Montague takes this one step further, with his concept of “story doing.”

In his view, everyone and everything should have a “meta story,” which informs everything they do and everything they are. “What, even a ream of paper?” I asked. “Yes,” Ty replied, explaining that a ream of paper might come from trees grown in a sustainable manner. Its meta story is that it helps to make the world a better place, and consumers who choose that ream of paper buy into that idea.

It seems as if story doing is about defining and acting out an identity. It might be an identity you aspire to or one that you already have. Storytelling, on the other hand, is a communication tool to help you express yourself and win support. They are different techniques, but equally useful in their different ways.

To learn more about this concept, listen to the interview, or read its transcript (both premium members only).

Question:  How much do you use storytelling in your work life? When do you find it particularly useful? What is your meta story, and how does that show in what you do every day? Leave a comment below to join in the discussion.

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