The Power of Stories

“Stories make you feel something. Telling stories, is sharing a meaning.” – Juhana Torkki, author.

This quote is freely translated from Finnish.

We had the pleasure to hear it and a lot more from Juhana Torkki yesterday morning at a Design District Helsinki member event.

Mr. Torkki is a coach and a writer. He teaches people how to impress with their communication. He has written 3 books about the subject concentrating on the power of talking, the power of negotiation and the latest on the power of stories (Puhevalta, Neuvotteluvalta & Tarinan valta).

juhana torkki author tarinan valta

Great storytellers

Juhana started his session with a few stories about great storytellers – Barack Obama and Steve Jobs.

Sounds old? Maybe so, but Juhana had a totally new perspective on why both Obama and Jobs succeeded in their storytelling.

Jobs, Juhana explains, did what is often unintentionally done by storytellers – he told a story, which realised itself later in real life. In 1980 Jobs described computers as the bicycles for the human mind. He created a story around a back then fairly unknown device, and now we can see that this story came true.

Obama uses another technique. Based on Juhana’s research he takes inspiration from a few sources, apparently his favourites from literature, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. In his book Juhana compares Obama’s inauguration speech from 2009 with the Council of Elrond (see the 1st LOTR book for exact content) and the cynics in his 2012 speech for Colorado students to Harry Potter’s dementors. It has to be admitted – the similarities are significant!

The archetypes of stories

Juhana Torkki also talked about the most typical types of stories people love: the Cinderella and the David & Goljath types.

We see both types a lot in company stories. Many currently successful companies started from poor or almost impossible conditions, faced many enemies on their way (resembling the evil stepmother and stepsisters), but finally came out as winners – just think about Apple’s story.

David & Goljath type stories have a small player who, dispite his weakness in size outwins bigger players with wit and cleverness.

ABC for company stories

As a final point, Torkki told about the most important phases for company stories.

A: the company myth.
What is your company’s birth story? How did everything start and how did you get to where you are now?

B: your promise to the people.
What does your company give to people? Why does your company matter?

C: the sequels.
What is your company doing now that is interesting? How is the story continuing?

Finally, think about who is telling your story. If it is your clients and employees, you’re doing great!

Thank you Juhana and Design District Helsinki!

With <3 booncon PIXELS