Two weeks ago (over a phenomenal bowl of noodles) in Denver's rising LoDo neighborhood, I overheard two founders talking about their fundraising efforts.
The founder to my immediate left had just botched a pitch and was frustrated that the VC's weren't seeing what was so clearly an obvious investment.
His partner, sitting across the table and trying hard to be supportive, suggested maybe the story was wrong. Were they telling the right stories to investors?
I thought he could be right, but I also wondered if the businesses just wasn't sound.
Either way, the interaction was an example something that I'm hearing more of today:
Storytelling is the simple fix to getting what you want.
Except it's not.
When working with organizations I make sure to be up front that at its core, storytelling is about communication. It just so happens it's one of the most effective ways to communicate, but it's not the only way to communicate, and sometimes it might not be the most effective.
Workshops start first with identifying what each team member is trying to communicate, and then helping them look at different story structures that could help them.
Everyone from the C-suite to the newest JR hire needs to communicate, and if an organization is full of strong communicators, the bottom line is sure to show that.
The trick, though, isn't finding time for a workshop, but making sure that what's learned continues to be used well after the lights are turned off.
What we have found is that communication is like any learned skill -- it needs to be done over and over before it comes naturally. Providing employees with the chance to to practice is important if your company is going to reap the benefits.