Could this be the end of charts, diagrams, and facts & figures? Master this trait to increase your visibility and be remembered like nothing else!
Increasing the visibility of procurement in the C-suite is something that is constantly on every CPO’s agenda. But how do you do it? Work harder? Save more? Negotiate better? The answer very well could be none of the above.
Heralded as one of most coveted up-and-coming leadership skills, the one surprising trait that may help you increase visibility in the C-suite is the ability to tell a story. Yet sharing ideas with the C-suite is a learned skill, and you need to hire (or be) the person who can explain these ideas in a compelling way. Here’s exactly why storytelling is so important, and how to tell a good story (or hire someone who can):
Why is storytelling important?
Have you ever found yourself forgetting facts, but remembering a story? If so, you’re not alone. The human brain is hardwired to remember stories, so much so that we are 20 times more likely to remember something if it’s in story form. Think about that for a second. Your CEO will be far more likely to remember your presentation if you take your graphs out and put a story in instead!
Beyond that though, stories are important for a number of reasons. Firstly, they are far more likely to change opinions and behaviour than simply data and facts. Secondly, they are far more engaging, and hence more likely to capture the attention of whoever you are talking to. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, research shows that people find stories more trustworthy. With evidence like that, it’s hard to imagine presenting data ever again!
How to tell a good story
It’s clear that there are multiple compelling reasons to become a better storyteller, or to hire someone who is. Storytelling is definitely a learned skill and not something that should be left to marketing, so if you are hiring, ensure you look out for the examples below when asking a potential new hire to describe their experiences. But if you’re not hiring, it’s absolutely possible to better your own storytelling ability. Here’s how to make your stories really shine:
- Share something personal: Clearly, discussions with senior executives are no time to be discussing your personal life. But by sharing an anecdote or a little bit of personal information from the work you do, you can help create a more human connection. For example, perhaps you have an interesting supplier story you can share?
- Write your story first: Spent hours on your slides, but no time preparing your pitch? That won’t work if you’re storytelling. If you do plan to insert a story into what you’re doing, make sure you draft it first so you can deliver it confidently.
- Know who you’re talking to: Do you know nothing about the executive you’re talking to, besides their name? This won’t help your story, unfortunately. If you can find out something personal about them, perhaps something about their interests or even their concerns about the business, you can look to personalise your story to make it more impactful.
- Bookend your story: Despite the fact that people are more likely to remember stories, they can still be forgetful – in fact, people are far more likely to remember the first and last thing you tell them than anything in the middle. For this reason, try to bookend your story by starting with an exciting anecdote and closing with something your audience can resonate with.
- Insert a joke or a surprise: Let’s face it, presentations can be a little dry sometimes. To lighten the mood and add intrigue to your story (where appropriate) add a joke or a surprise. It can help draw your audience’s attention back to you.
- Get outside your comfort zone: Storytelling can feel uncomfortable at first, and that’s ok. Practice makes perfect, so ensure you take a risk and try to get outside your comfort zone. You never know how much visibility it could give you.
MRA Global Sourcing believes that all hiring managers should prioritise the skill of storytelling. Learn more about this, as well as many other game-changing ideas, in our compelling whitepaper 100 Big Ideas for 2021.