How Telling Better Stories Can Help You Professionally

Julie Shenkman
Posted by

Telling stories is a skill set that most people relegate to the kindergarten teacher or parent come bedtime. Business storytelling plays an important role in the professional setting, and mastering this skill can even boost your value as an administrative or a clerical worker. From entertaining individuals in the waiting area to bringing your career to life in an interview, storytelling can get you hired, noticed, appreciated, and promoted.

Before you can begin business storytelling, you have to land a job. Competition is fierce in today's market, which means you need to tell a compelling story about your history, experience, skills, and education. Career storytelling takes place through online and in-person networking, your resume, and the interview process. For an administrative worker, a career story should cover pertinent skills sets such as typing; Excel, Word, and PowerPoint capabilities; and familiarity with any niche-specifics for the jobs to which you are applying. Don't just hand over a dry list of skills—telling stories involves more than regurgitating facts. Add in personal or human elements to engage your audience and make them care about your success.

Once hired, telling stories can help you communicate, impress the boss, and charm coworkers or vendors. Administrative assistants do a lot of communicating via email, telephone, and in-person speech. Strong storytelling skills let you bring circumstances and information alive for the person on the other end, which facilitates in understanding and communication. According to social media expert Jeff Korhan, telling stories can inspire new thought. Addison Duval says that story telling can help clients connect with the business, resulting in increased sales. As an administrative worker, new ideas and sales may not be your primary function, but your ability to contribute to the business in variable ways makes you a more valuable—and sought after—employee.

Not everyone is a born storyteller, especially when it comes to communications in a public setting. Working on public speaking skills through classes and practice is a good step for many administrative workers. Other tips from experts include being yourself as much as is appropriate in the business setting and telling stories that relate to your audience. As an admin worker, conduct research on vendors and business partners so that you have some ground on which to base story choices. When possible, tell stories from direct experience instead of repeating someone else's story. When an event happened to you, you're more likely to convey it with interest and emotion. Most experts agree that simple is best—the person or people listening should be able to summarize your story from memory using a few words or sentences.

There are many layers to an admin or clerical position, and telling stories may be one of them. Don't be afraid to be yourself and add a human element to your communication. Your unique stories may be what get you noticed when it comes time for promotions.




(Photo courtesy of


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch