AB Thinks  →  29th February 2024

Using storytelling to become a better internal communicator

Remember the teacher who told you you’d never amount to anything? Or the friend of your aunt who said you could do with losing 3lbs?

These experiences form part of your story. They become your internal narrative, affecting how you view yourself and the world around you. And they inform prejudices which, crucially, can impact the stories of the people you interact with every day. So, pretty important really.

As storytelling aficionado Agatha Juma told Katie Macaulay on a recent episode of The Internal Comms Podcast, you can’t go about telling other people’s stories if you do not have power over your own. In short, we must get comfortable with reshaping our own story – using it to drive us forward, not letting it hinder us.

So how do you do that?

First, do the work on your own story.

Agatha told Katie that, to be useful members of society, we must do the messy, difficult internal work to reframe our narrative. How we interpret the world will impact our effectiveness as internal communicators. We must unshackle ourselves from negative stereotypes to better represent the workforce and communicate with them from a fair and rational place.

Next, seek to understand the stories around you.

Every person we encounter – from the IT colleague making a cup of tea by your side in the kitchen, to the CEO you once nodded at in the office car park – has their own bank of stories. These stories can help you get to the crux of how these colleagues work, why they work and what they need to succeed. So, be curious. Commit yourself to uncovering the stories that power your business. Listen intentionally, and show you understand.

And finally, share those stories with colleagues.

Build connections, find commonalities and move forward together as a team of whole, messy humans.

Agatha is co-founder of Engage Kenya and a leadership communication coach. Hear her discuss how we own our narratives, explain why simple connects, and share her vision to change the world one story at a time.