By Aaron Templer
I had a terrific time working with The Colorado Medical Society this past May. The President of the CMS had a great idea to interweave storytelling techniques for leaders throughout the entire conference. His thinking was that we all leave these conferences full of energy, armed with new information to make changes in our society, businesses, or communities. But we’re missing the tools to actually do something about it.
So I was brought in to help by way of providing techniques for leaders to tell stories. Storytelling being, of course, one of the more effective way to engage and move people. We did a few things to bring storytelling into the conference. (This is an environment which, incidentally, isn’t exactly the most welcoming place for such a topic. After all, medical professionals are taught to actually ignore anecdotal evidence and seek out data. So it was a fun challenge in even convincing some of these docs that storytelling is important.)
The first thing was to work with the conference’s faculty to, as the Executive Director put it, get them “in on the play.” I consulted with each faculty member to incorporate some element of storytelling into their presentation. Then, after the typical questions about the content of their talk were covered during the Q&A, we’d deconstruct the storytelling portion to demonstrate storytelling’s effectiveness.
I also gave a keynote on storytelling as a leadership technique to set the tone for the conference. You can actually get the materials I created for the conference here which serve as a decent surrogate for actually being there.
I was also asked to facilitate a panel on leading from any position in an organizational structure, which provided us a chance to zoom back on the larger leadership context, take a look at the differences between power and influence, and how stories can help move people in most any situation.
There’s no doubt that this kind of approach to turning conferences from simple learning practice fields into action-oriented experiences can transcend the medical industry. Want to brainstorm how we can do it for your organization? Let’s chat.