I grew up listening to my father tell wonderful, meandering stories. War adventures, legal battles, family fables. Whatever the subject matter, dad knew the art of weaving a great story together. There was more to this than simply entertaining me and my sisters. We were learning important lessons.
The best way to get somebody to take in something you want to share – a lesson, a business pitch, anything – is to do it in the form of a story. When we hear stories, we can be simultaneously involved in the tale being told. We can empathise, relate and understand far more that way.
Richard Branson speaking at a Virgin Unite Necker gathering
The ability to tell a story with passion, humour and heart will help build trust. When I am listening to business pitches, if I can understand the vision of the entrepreneur through their storytelling, I am far more likely to get interested. The purpose and products of the business still need to be right, but storytelling can help to bring these to life.
Richard Branson listening with a note book at a Virgin Unite Necker gathering
We’ve spent a fair few nights around the beautiful campfire on Necker Island swapping stories recently. Every time we’re sat down by the flames, I am reminded of a line I scribbled down in my notebook a few years ago: Storytelling is as old as the campfire, and as young as a tweet. Regardless of the medium – in person, on social media, through old fashioned letters, on the phone or via email – there is nothing more effective and affecting than storytelling.