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Stories for Work summary

Gabrielle Dolan

The Essential Guide to Business Storytelling

4.4 (189 ratings)
27 mins

Brief summary

'Stories for Work' by Gabrielle Dolan is a guidebook on how to effectively communicate at work using storytelling. The book provides practical tips and tools for crafting compelling stories that connect, engage, and inspire your audience.

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    Stories for Work
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    Storytelling is an ancient art, but businesses are just beginning to understand its potential.

    At some point in your career, you’ve probably sat through a dull PowerPoint presentation. Numbers and stats roll endlessly across the slides, and like a saturated sponge, your brain stops absorbing new information.

    You’re not alone; this is an embarrassingly common phenomenon in business. Luckily, there’s a powerful remedy: storytelling.

    Storytelling is an ancient antidote to a modern problem – it has been used as a communicative device since historical records began. The ancient Greek author Homer, for instance, completed The Odyssey thousands of years ago. The story was originally composed as an epic spoken-word poem, passed down verbally from generation to generation, and was used by the Greeks to teach cultural values and preserve a common identity.

    Another example is Dreamtime storytelling, an ancient indigenous Australian cultural practice. Here, indigenous elders would harness the power of storytelling to teach children about the Dreamtime, a primordial time in indigenous mythology when the spirits created the land, people, plants and animals.

    But fascinating history aside, can storytelling really be relevant to the world of work?

    Well, whether it’s for an individual or an organization, storytelling is still the most effective and authentic method to deliver a message or communicate an idea. All you have to do is apply its methods to a business situation.

    Take Australia’s postal service, Australia Post. With the steady increase in online shopping in recent years, traditional mail transactions are in rapid decline.

    As a result, in 2015, Australia Post revamped its organization and brought in new company values. To instill these values into their vast workforce, the company created a two-day storytelling event called the “Grapevine.”

    Attendees were asked to come ready to share a personal story relating to one of the company’s new values. The impact was remarkable: after the Grapevine, “agree” responses to the survey question “I can confidently explain our Australia Post Group shared values” jumped from 50 percent to 97 percent!

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    What is Stories for Work about?

    In Stories for Work (2017), Gabrielle Dolan explains the effectiveness of a powerful story, and how business professionals can harness this tool to communicate ideas, motivate employees, persuade clients and achieve goals. Dolan walks you through practical advice on coming up with your own stories, and how to apply them to a range of business scenarios.

    Stories for Work Review

    Stories for Work (2017) is a valuable resource for anyone looking to enhance their communication skills and make a greater impact in the workplace. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Featuring a collection of engaging and relatable stories, it helps readers understand the power of storytelling and how to use it effectively in professional settings.
    • Through practical tips and techniques, the book shows how storytelling can be used to build connections, inspire others, and drive change within organizations.
    • With its emphasis on authenticity and vulnerability, the book provides a refreshing approach to communication, making it an engaging read that is far from boring.

    Best quote from Stories for Work

    The fact-and-figure heavy business world is desperate for authentic and story-filled engaging leaders.

    —Gabrielle Dolan
    example alt text

    Who should read Stories for Work?

    • Anyone who wants to sharpen their communication skills
    • People curious about the power of storytelling
    • Professionals in “people-facing” roles

    About the Author

    Gabrielle Dolan is an author, educator and keynote speaker specializing in authentic leadership and compelling storytelling. She has an MBA in management and leadership, and is the author of five books including the best-selling Ignite: Real Leadership, Real Talk, Real Results (2015).

    © Gabrielle Dolan: Stories for Work copyright 2017, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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    Stories for Work FAQs 

    What is the main message of Stories for Work?

    Stories for Work teaches us how to use storytelling to connect, engage, and inspire in the workplace.

    How long does it take to read Stories for Work?

    The reading time for Stories for Work varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Stories for Work a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Stories for Work is a valuable read that provides practical insights and techniques for using storytelling at work.

    Who is the author of Stories for Work?

    Gabrielle Dolan is the author of Stories for Work.

    What to read after Stories for Work?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Stories for Work, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson
    • Lead with a Story by Paul Smith
    • Crucial Accountability by Kerry Patterson
    • The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr
    • The Story Factor by Annette Simmons
    • Bulletproof Problem Solving by Charles Conn and Robert McLean
    • Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks
    • Move by Patty Azzarello
    • Rogue Waves by Jonathan Brill
    • Social Empathy by Elizabeth Segal