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It was a dark and stormy night... On Procurement and Storytelling

It was a dark and stormy night... On Procurement and Storytelling

On July 22, Chip Scholz, Head Coach of Scholz and Associates, Inc. posted ‘Executive Presence: Stronger with Leadership Storytelling’ on his site.

It is a very interesting post. I continue to be fascinated by the potential of effective storytelling in the corporate arena. I wrote a related article on the importance for procurement to control their narrative for Procurement Insights (you can read it here) in January.

We are all constantly being bombarded and overwhelmed by information. Even when we are in important face-to-face meetings our focus is tempted away by smartphones and tablets. An effective storyteller may be the best weapon against indifference.

I agree with Chip about using case studies or positive/negative examples to illustrate a point. Any one of those approaches has a way of personalizing a message that would otherwise be glossed over. Although a meeting presents more than an ‘elevator pitch’ opportunity to make a case, it doesn’t afford you much more. Especially at the outset. I would wager that, especially when speaking to executives, you either hook the audience in the first 5-10 minutes or you lose them for the whole hour.

The other important idea about storytelling that is underleveraged in corporate communications is a well timed pause. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there is no room for silence in a critical meeting, but the opposite is true. Great storytellers give their audience time to react to and absorb each tale. Ironically, a storyteller will offer up less information in the same period of time, but more of the message is likely to get through.

Since many of procurement’s challenges are PR related, they are great candidates for being addressed through effective communication – and storytelling skills should be placed near the top of the tactics list.


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