I’ll get to what’s not obvious about the attached interview in a moment. What is obvious about the story being told is: selling products and services is a form of storytelling. So, Kathy Klotz-Guest is right- why is it that when people are in the “office”, they suddenly stop communicating a story like humans, and become more like jargon-speaking corporate robots?
In my opinion, using jargon is not a “fail”. Yes, language is a huge factor. But, you can still tell an amazing story with some corporate speak trickling in. It’s more important that your body language doesn’t betray you when you catch yourself using boardroom buzz words. In describing what will improve how you communicate, her main point, however, is to use one of my favourite buzzwords: empathy. Show an understanding for your audience- not just about what they want, but how they feel about the story you’re trying to tell. Many executives have started to work on this in their day-to-day business. That’s great news for all!
At the same time, doing this at the non-day-to-day annual, or semi-annual large-scale event is not going to necessarily be in their comfort zone. This is where it is beneficial to bring in a professional “storyteller” to keep the event compelling and even fun. It’s one thing to “be human” in small boardroom, or one-on-one conversations. But, it’s not even fair to expect senior managers to be comfortable doing so in front of hundreds or people. Even for the most experienced executive, everything can start to feel robotic at that point. It takes experience and skill to achieve this in forums that require an authentic “performance”, as well as an emotional appreciation for the audience when helping to convey the ideas of multiple people.
What’s not obvious about this story is that even the best storytellers within an organization are not experienced to be the “conductor” at events of this nature; nor should they spend their time trying to improve this skill. It’s not their core competency. Having a professional entertainer who understands how to bring out the best of all of the storytellers on-stage is the key to successfully telling your company’s story at your next large-scale event. And they all lived happily ever after.