Book Review: Telling the Story

Emma De Vita reviews the new book by Geoff Mead, which says that brushing up on your storytelling skills can make you a better boss

Telling the Story by Geoff Mead
Telling the Story by Geoff Mead

Do you really want your chief executive to be telling stories? Yes, says Geoff Mead, founder of Narrative Leadership Associates. Just not the pulling-the-wool-over-your-eyes kind. Mead coaches leaders in using the art of storytelling to make them better bosses.

"Successful leadership depends on the stories we tell and the stories we live, and how well they speak to the needs of our time," he explains. A leader who tells a good story about her or his organisation and its direction will not only create meaning for the people who work in it but will give them a sense of purpose and community and make them protagonists in their organisation's tale.

So how to spin a good yarn? "Storytelling is both a natural human activity and a performative art," Mead says. We all have the innate ability to do it, but there are a few basic techniques that can improve your storytelling prowess. One important technique when it comes to composing a story is what Mead calls Castle - Characters, Action, Structure, Texture, Language and Emotions. An expert storyteller will know how to chart the simple emotional shape of the story to help take listeners on a compelling journey.

Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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