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Permission to Speak – Leadership Blog – Kelly Vandever Interviews Paul Smith on Storytelling for Leaders


Episode 11 - Paul Smith - Podcast Logo

Permission to Speak

Video Blog & Podcast

Hosted by Leadership Communications Expert Kelly Vandever

Permission to Speak is the video blog and podcast that loiters at the intersections of leaders who want their people to speak up, technology that facilitates connections, and results that serve an organization’s higher purpose.

Our guest for this episode:  Paul Smith



Topics discussed:

  • Storytelling is an important component of leadership
  • Noticed that role model leaders were also great storytellers
  • Great book, “Made to Stick” by Dan and Chip Heath
  • Story of Paul decision to leave corporate to pursue this career as an author, speaker, trainer and consultant
  • Why leaders should use stories
  • Anyone can be a storyteller
  • Storytelling is timeless – oldest form of influence and leadership that we have, and it always will be
  • Stories are demographic proof, no one is immune to the effects of a great story
  • Stories are contagious (unlike a policy memo)
  • Stories make things easier to remember
  • Stories make facts more memorable
  • Biggest challenge when telling stories in a business context is choosing the right story to tell
  • In normal conversations with people is where storytelling can really shine
  • If you tell the wrong story, even if you deliver it magnificently, the audience will never forgive you for wasting their time
  • But if you tell the right story that inspires people, even if you stumble and stammer, people will love you
  • The most common mistake in storytelling is apologizing for or asking permission to tell a story, instead just tell the story.
  • Leaders don’t ask for permission to lead, they just lead.
  • Storytelling helps build relationships between leaders and their people
  • We naturally default to trusting people that we know
  • Storytelling, when you tell personal stories, is an accelerator in letting people get to know and trust you
  • When a leader tells a story of one of their failures, it demonstrates to the employee that the leader is more concerned with their employee’s development than they are of protecting their own ego
  • 2 of the easiest tools to connect with your employees and build trust are telling personal stories and telling stories of your failures
  • Start noticing stories, become attuned to them, and take notes when you hear a story
  • Capture in writing when something noteworthy happens to you
  • Then start telling the stories
  • We need to database our stories, just like any other piece of valuable information
  • Pleasantly surprised at how successful his first book was
  • Humbled by how willing people were to be open with Paul when he was interviewing them for his books
  • Storytelling isn’t a gift that only certain people are born with. If you study storytelling, you can get good at it… and leaders should get good at storytelling

Paul’s Website – LeadWithAStory.com 

Paul’s books