A facilitator launched into a workshop with this story:
“Last week I watched my wife preparing a pot roast. As I watched she cut off one end of the roast and set it aside. I Asked her why she did this. She answered, “Because my mother always cut off the end of roast.” I was still confused so I went to my mother-in-law and asked the same question. She said. “Because my mother always did it that way!” I still thought it was strange and so I went to my wife’s grandmother and asked her about this strange family practice. She just laughed and said, ”I always cut off the end of the roast because I didn’t have a pan big enough to hold the whole roast.” Some traditions are like that! Let’s look at what we do and why we do it that way.”
All the participants connected with the story and the message. The next day another facilitator arrived and said ‘I want to share this parable with you’ and repeated the same story! Much to the shock of all the participants. Needless to say the credibility of the previous facilitator was shot to pieces…because he had passed off this parable as his own.
One of the participant’s shared this whole experience with us adding ‘We were so angry and didn’t care any more about the valuable stuff that we had learnt in the workshop any more. All we could remember was he had lied to us by saying this had happened to him when clearly it was a well known story. We started to wonder what else he had said was not true.’
If a story is not your own, the simplest yet most important storytelling technique is to always credit your stories. Credit your stories and stay credible. This is the most important tip for business storytelling.
Article courtesy of One Thousand and One, Organisational Storytelling, Melbourne, Australia