“Have nothing to do with stupid and senseless controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness.” (Timothy 2:23-25)
Patricia Bouteneff continues her series on storytelling as an essential skill of effective leadership.
Have you ever delivered a pitch for a project, or even a sermon, and noticed that people were tensing up their shoulders, clearly disagreeing with what you were saying? Even if you only imagine that happening to you, you would be wise to consider developing an objection-slaying story before your proposing your next project to the congregation. Objection-slaying stories allow you to address your stakeholders’ suspicions, questions, or concerns–preferably before they voice them. To do this, you will need to anticipate your audience’s point of view, so you choose a story that confronts their unspoken apprehensions.
You’ll do this by crafting your narrative beforehand, in anticipation of the objection. The right story, told at the right time with the right point can shift the conversation from logic to imagery and emotion, which can help reducing defensiveness on your side as well as your audience’s. One of the best ways to do this is to take your stakeholders on a “test drive” of the project, service, or other change that you are proposing. You’ll be using their imagination to stimulate ownership and involvement. If there are facts and data you need to convey, you can insert them into the story as you tell it.
When you tell this type of story, you validate the audience’s perspectives, their worries, their vulnerabilities. This helps them to feel that you are on their side and that you identify with their emotions and concerns. These kinds of stories are useful in negotiations and addresses to the key stakeholders in a given project.
Should an unanticipated objection arise—and it will–take your time in responding. You don’t want to assume you understand the precise concern. Try to avoid piling in with counterpoints and thereby inadvertently raising new objections. Consider asking clarifying questions or restating objections to verify that you understand your stakeholder’s worries. If you meet resistance appropriately, you’ll make your case more powerfully. Your audience will discover that you are prepared to embrace the objection and work with them.
The more you are able to show your listeners that you’ve genuinely considered and addressed their unease, the stronger leadership will become and the better chance your project will have of success.
Storytelling for Church Leaders sources
- Asher, Levi, “Ship of Fools, the Enduring Metaphor” on com (http://www.litkicks.com/ShipOfFools)
- Blunt, Ray: “Leaders and Stories: Growing the Next Generation, Conveying Values, and Shaping Character,” on Org (http://govleaders.org/stories.htm)
- Cavanaugh-Simmons, Christine, “Self-authoring the Who I Am Story” on the CCS Consulting website (http://ccs-consultinginc.com/who-am-i/self-authoring-the-who-am-i-story/)
- Friedman, Stew: “The Most Compelling Leadership Vision” on Harvard Business Review (https://hbr.org/2009/05/the-most-compelling-leadership/)
- Green, Melanie C.: “Storytelling in Teaching,” in Observer: Journal of the Association for Psychological Science, April 2004, Volume 17, Number 4 (http://mina.education.ucsb.edu/webdata/instruction/hss/Story_Telling/Story_in_Teaching.pdf)
- Hardy, Darren, “Without Vision People Perish,” on com (http://darrenhardy.success.com/2010/11/vision/)
- Hopko, Fr Thomas, “Speaking the Truth in Love: Compelling Commentary on Christian Belief and Behavior.” Podcast for Ancient Faith Radio (http://www.ancientfaith.com/podcasts/hopko/bishops_part_1_prophetic_priestly_and_pastoral)
- Jackson, Keith: “Business Storytelling: Using Stories to Inspire,” on com http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/BusinessStoryTelling.htm
- Lee, Meredith: “Popular Quotes: Commitment” on The Goethe Society of North America webpage (http://www.goethesociety.org/pages/quotescom.html)
- Linden, Russ: “Story Power,” on Governing: The States and Localities (http://www.governing.com/columns/mgmt-insights/Story-Power.html)
- Llopis, Glenn: “Hidden Agendas Disrupt Business Growth and Leadership,” on com (http://www.forbes.com/sites/glennllopis/2011/11/07/objectives-define-intentions-why-leaders-must-reveal-their-hidden-agendas/)
- Maxwell, John C.: “Positive Inspirational Leadership Stories” on com.au (http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/leadership/Communicating%20Vision.shtml)
- Ramsdell, Catherine: “Storytelling, Narration, and the ‘Who I Am’ Story,” on WritingSpaces.com http://writingspaces.org/sites/default/files/ramsdell–storytelling-narration.pdf
- Schwabel, Dan: “How to Use Storytelling as a Leadership Tool,” on Forbes.com (http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2012/08/13/how-to-use-storytelling-as-a-leadership-tool/)
- Simmons, Annette: “The Six Stories You Need to Know How to Tell,” on com (http://annettesimmons.com/wp-content/files_mf/1294790921StoryFactorChap1.pdf)
- Stevenson, Doug: “Aikido Selling—Sell It With a Story” on Storytelling-in-Business.com (http://www.storytelling-in-business.com/keynotes-training/aikido-selling/)
- Stevenson, Doug: “Storytelling – A Leadership Development Tool,” on Story Theater International ( http://storytelling-in-business.com/files/Storytelling-leadership-development-tool.pdf)
- TeachThought: We Grow Teachers on com http://www.teachthought.com/pedagogy/30-storytelling-tips-for-teachers/
- Thompson, Jessica: “Manipulation techniques used by manipulative people” on JessicaThompsonWrites.com (http://jessicathompsonwrites.com/manipulation-techniques-used-manipulative-people/)
- Toronto Sustainability Speakers Series. “Handling Objections: A Professional’s Guide to Overcoming Objections to Sustainability Adoption and Implementation” on EcoOpportunity.net (http://ecoopportunity.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/TSSS-Objection-Discussion-Paper-April-2012.pdf)
- Visgatis, Frank: “Overcome Sales Objections By Discovering the Need the Buyer Hasn’t Realized” on Entrepreneur.com ( http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242192)
- Zax, David: “6 Rules for Great Storytelling, From A Moth-Approved Master of the Form” on com (http://www.fastcompany.com/3052152/how-i-get-it-done/6-rules-for-great-storytelling-from-a-moth-approved-master-of-the-form?cid=ps002rosnr)