Mathias Grüttner is an expert in strategic communication and storytelling

Why strategic communication needs storytelling

Managers who successfully communicate through storytelling are much more prone to convince employee´s on new strategies

Numbers, graphs, and heavy terms are a part of life for all leaders. But using storytelling in your communication aids greatly in passing on all this important information. Mathias Grüttner is an MD at Napica. A company that works with management communication, and his favorite tool is storytelling.

“Storytelling creates purpose. It ties together a large organization, where everything is moving in its own direction. With storytelling you are able to paint a picture, that helps people understand what you are doing and why,” says Mathias Grüttner.

In his job as a consultant for leaders on all levels, he often meet people who are technically highly skilled in what they do, but who struggles to communicate it effectively to their employee´s and co-workers. Working with storytelling can really make a difference for those people.

“When applying storytelling in your communication, you speak in examples and concretes. Examples increase the effect of the data you are trying to present. It´s way easier for humans to remember something concrete than something abstract, and this makes storytelling a durable form of communication.”

Mathias Grüttner also argues that great stories, if told well, can spread throughout the organization, be discussed at lunchtime and therefore the strategy behind the story will be accepted and integrated more easily.

(This article has been translated. Read the danish version here.)

Why internal communication is so important

Almost all management works via communication. Its all about achieving results and making sure people are working as a unit. Communication is an essential tool for reaching ones strategic goals. Because of that, Mathis Grüttner underlines the importance of being able to communicate effectively.

“Great communication creates meaning, direction and people who are willing to follow you. If you have achieved all three of these in your organization, you have come a long way.”

Mathias Grüttner sometimes meet leaders, who has achieved great success on communicating a new strategy without even knowing why. Recognizing the form of communication is pivotal if you don´t want to rely on luck.

”We talk about igniting the passion of the employees. Many leaders find that difficult, but sometimes they are unknowingly competent. In these situations it is crucial to learn how to copy the parts, that worked. This is done best by expanding your knowledge on communication.”

Igniting the passion, Mathias Grüttner believes, has historically been a challenge for leaders, who tend to live in a world of numbers and statistics.

Why it can be so hard to change things and succeed with new initiatives

All change is difficult and that is why it requires a lot of thoughts on how to communicate it.

“The hard part about change is, that we know, what we have, not what we are going to get. In change lies a latent critique in -what we have done so far is not good enough apparently. That feeling can be hard to accept. Effective communication is therefore crucial to whether or not your employees will embrace the change.”

An important element in sharing upcoming transformations is not to upset people. It is wise to put time and effort into talking about the things that are performing well. This creates a psychological comfort.

“Very seldom a company turns 180 degrees and in an instant chooses to do everything differently. Typically strategic changes will be minor. Because of this, it is a good idea to talk about the things, that remains as it is. It makes the thought of change more manageable.”

When upcoming change has been communicated, it is necessary to keep the steam running. A lot of strategic actions takes many months before getting any results. Keep communicating the importance.

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