Business writing has a bad reputation. From the bafflingly complex to the stiflingly mundane, communications leaves us cold, bored or just plain lost. By understanding the storytelling principles of drama we can start thinking differently about business communications and inject a little more magic.
This ‘storytelling amnesia’ is a strange phenomenon. Outside of work, from the pub to the family dinner table, we all know how to tell stories. But as soon as we step into the office and start to write, we tend to turn our inner-story setting to ‘off’.
The problem is, our readers don’t. Whether we’re in front of our laptop screen or the silver screen, we’re all hard-wired to respond to stories. As readers, viewers or listeners, stories help us navigate and understand lots of information, sympathise with points of view and compel us to act. When the story’s missing, we sense it. We tune out. We get lost. Or we just move on.
Based on Into the Woods, John Yorke’s bestselling book on story structure, Telling Stories for Business is a new 5-week intensive online course which will show you why stories are such a powerful tool for businesses: whether you’re writing to your customers or your colleagues, using stories will help you to make things happen.
This not a writing course. This is a storytelling course. For business.
From emails to presentations, press releases to annual reports, pitches to speeches, we’re doing more writing at work than ever before.
But understanding the structure of stories using examples from the best in the world won’t just make life easier for your reader – it’ll make your job easier too.
By learning about the different elements, you’ll come away with a framework to help you turn multitudes of complex information into one simple, cohesive story. Or turn a dull but important message into something readable and memorable.
In short, you’ll get better at helping people to understand things and persuading them to do things.
And while most bits of business writing will benefit from using every element of the story structure, there will be times where individual elements will help more than others. Once you’ve completed the course and understand how all the parts fit together, you can start to pick and choose tricks to use across each and every piece of writing you do.
Now, if you’re sitting comfortably, then we’ll begin…
Joe Weir is a writer and writing consultant at Joseph Bloggs. He’s worked with the Professional Writing Academy on the development of Telling Stories for Business.
Find out more about John Yorke on his website.
Telling Stories for Business (5-week intensive) starts on 9 May, 2016. It will help anyone who has communicate at work. So pretty much everybody.
The course has been made possible by the support of Creative Skillset, and has been approved as part of an informal or formal continuing professional development (CPD) programme. Bursaries available.
This project has been partly supported by HM Government with Employer Ownership funding.