The Value of Storytelling in Life and in Business

I put myself in the category of a motivational speaker, but I consider myself nothing more than a storyteller. And I don't think anything more is needed. Because if you have the ability to tell a powerful value-filled story, then it will serve you well in life and in business. Most of us have something we want to "sell" – a truth we want to share – information we want to transfer – an impact we want to make. This information, while it may be interesting, has no impact until you wrap it in a way that speaks beyond their mind, to their heart. Information does not convince. The story does that. Stories do what information can't. They take your information and make it real to the receiver. Delivering information has a pushing action – telling a story has a pulling action. When I tell a story people don't move. They don't text. They don't chat. They don't poke their neighbor. While I'd love to think it's because I'm a good storyteller, I give more credit to the vehicle – story – and its power to do what I can not.

In case you are not convinced, think about American Idol and how we get so involved in the stories of the characters. Sometimes (think Susan Boyle) we fall in love with the story more than the singing. Think about Taylor Swift. There are many who don't understand her fame – many who think her talent just does not match it. I understand completely. But I know what they love about her. She's not just singing – she's telling stories. Not hers – theirs. In fact, wouldn't you say that the music you love is the music that tells your story and speaks to your heart? Songs are just stories set to music. And last time I checked, music was still going strong. Same thing with movies. We buy into the story that speaks to us – and for two hours we are lost in it.  I would challenge you to watch people in positions of impact (leaders, politicians, bosses, preachers, changers of the world) and see if and how they use stories. Watch good television commercials for the same thing. Are they focusing on the product, or are they telling the story of you using this product? Watch the storytellers in life around you.

And here's the ultimate test: Try telling your eight-year-old what to do versus telling him a story that teaches that principle. See which one works better. The story will get his attention. And he will remember it. He still may not do it – but at least you got his attention. I didn't say storytelling would work miracles.

And so today, as we embark on the end of one year and look towards another, I ask that you take a serious look at storytelling and its power to help you impact others. How are you using stories? What are the many areas of your life where a story would fit? Where are the many facets of your business where storytelling would help you connect with your customers or employees? (Think sales calls, web, blogs, facebook page, even phone conversations!) What are the stories that make up your portfolio? What is YOUR story?

(PS  I should have followed my own advice. This whole article is filled with information – things you should do. I broke my own rule. I'm not walking my talk. I could have told one story proving the power of stories, and it would have been highly more effective. I could have SHOWN you instead of TOLD you. Oh well. Maybe next time.)[schema type=”person” name=”Storyteller Kelly Swanson” orgname=”Swanson Speaks, Inc” jobtitle=”Storyteller” url=”” description=”Award-winning storyteller Kelly Swanson teaches the power and value of stories in life and in business. It’s not about the information you deliver – it’s how you wrap it. ” country=”US” ]


Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson - called one of North Carolina's funniest women by Our State Magazine. Kelly lifts the spirits of audiences from coast-to-coast using humor, storytelling, and lives of the characters from Prides Hollow - Kelly's make believe small town. This unique approach to motivational speaking allows Kelly to break through communications barriers and connect directly to the audience's imagination.
Her powerful stories and wacky wit will make you laugh, remind you that you matter, show you how to see beyond your obstacles, and teach you how to stand up and stick out in a crowded market.
To book motivational speaker Kelly Swanson:
Motivational speaker Kelly Swanson's website

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  1. You are so right on with this Kelly!  Frenchie had a wine tasting event for a group of meeting planners and the event coordinator told me to showcase what I did too.  I just couldn't see opening with what I did as a motivational speaker and then introduce the wine guy.  There just wasn't a fit.  So, I told the story of how we met and as a motivational speaker – I talk about the power of dreams.  Then, I introduced The Baron of Wine, and my husband….Much to my surprise, the reaction surprised the heck out of the event coordinator!  The comments she got after was not how great Yves was doing his wine pairing event, but how together we were amazing.  I'm convinced it was all about the story.  It wouldn't have been nearly as affective if I said "let me tell you about me before I introduce your guest speaker."  As far as storytelling goes, you are the best. Keep these amazing blogs coming!!!  And, I'm thankful for you my dear friend.

  2. Okay you BOTH just delivered on this truth. Story's rock. I love hearing a story, and Kelly YOU are the best at drawing others in with a story. I know this to be true, and yet struggle at times to find a personal story that I feel is worthy of telling. I'm slowly learning. When I spoke to the female attorneys I was providing strategy with stories from their members to support what I was saying. When I shared my own perfectionist story regarding the Xmas tree and my daughter Chandler, that is what all of them came up afterwards to talk about. They had their own personal story that was similar and wanting to share. Stories do connect us and draw us in just like you said. I'm also blessed to share this blog with such incredible story tellers.

  3. Kelly, your talent, heart and craft that go into your stories make you the best storyteller I know!  As I continue to work on how I deliver my message of health and wellness, your advice convinces me that the story is the way to get this message across and affect a change for our audiences.  Like Colette, I feel very grateful for the chance to share this blogging site with such amazing speakers!!

  4. Once upon a time, there was a little dishwater blonde girl with freckles, bow legs, and buck teeth who loved more than anything to play with her little girlfriends. She loved it SO much that when they were playing hide and seek, or paper dolls, or pretend dress up, she NEVER wanted to leave. She didn't want to go home, she wouldn't stop to eat, and she HATED having to leave to go pee.  So sometimes, she would just "accidently" pee in her pants.  Well, what else could she do if she really, really, REALLY didn't want to leave her friends even for a second?

    As you can imagine, this didn't go over well with her mother. And her mother would appropriately "discipline" her (read: "Go get me a switch off that front bush right now, young lady!")  But the little freckly-blonde girl didn't really mind. She would just think about the NEXT time should would get to go play with her friends.

    Well, the little girl is all grown up now. And she doesn't pee in her pants anymore. Well, there is a small price to pay if she coughs to hard or laughs too loud.  But the reality is that she still loves to play with her friends. Especially, Kelly, Polly, Colette, and Marilyn. And she HATES leaving them to go do other things.  So she connects with them all the time on this fun little blog they have called, Motivational Speakers Review.   They are always with her.  


  5. I just love you ladies to pieces. End of story.


  1. […] Storytelling Makes Us Better in Life and in Business From – Today, 8:21 AM I put myself in the category of a motivational speaker, but I consider myself nothing more than a storyteller. And I don't think anything more is needed. Because if you have the ability to tell a powerful value-filled story, then it will …What a wonderful inspirational read for today, the day of Thanksgiving. If you want a jolt of heartfulness about stories in business, then this short article is for you.Behind all the story and marketing, sales, biz growth activities lies the heart. Storytelling — whether in business or on the stage — is heart work because that is ultimately where stories touch us. At least for me it is.I believe most of us doing this work with business storytelling come from this heart place because we know that sharing stories brings out the best in people. Because that is what we want more of. And that is what this article is really all about.And I love at the end that the author Kelly Swanson says her post contains a lot of information and not story, and promises to do better. Doesn't this happen to all of us?! So thanks Kelly for the refreshing admission. We are right there with you :)Enjoy this lovely piece, and thanks Kelly!Link to original article:  This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling at  […]

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