Storytelling for every personality

Take a moment to read the short story below. What stands out to you?

The dragon and the knight

A dragon was terrorizing a small village. The people in the village were sad and scared. The local knight went out to fight the dragon but he was defeated. He came back to the village and they came up with a plan. Every day the knight would practice and every day he got better. A team of people from the village got together and made a new longer, sharper sword and lighter, tougher armour. Every evening the knight would watch plays of great knights in the past and his spirit was lifted. After a month the knight went out to fight the dragon and this time he was victorious!!!! The village celebrated and they lived happily ever after.

The four personality types

I recently attended a two-day offsite where the facilitator took us through the four communication styles outlined below. This was told to us in order to improve our team’s communication. I wondered if these communication styles could be equally well applied to storytelling?

The four communication styles are:

Depending on your communication style you would have been drawn to different elements of the story at the beginning of the blog.

If you are a Driver/Controller/Red leader and communication style person then you would have been drawn to the goal that the knight had, to which he worked hard and that he overcame. You would have cheered as the knight defeated the dragon. An Expressive/Visionary/Yellow style person would be drawn to the innovation and acting element. You would have hoped that the innovators would have received much of the praise. The Amiable/Caregiver/Green style person would feel for the villagers and would be happy when they were saved from the dragon. Lastly, the Analytical/Professor/Blue style person would like the fact that they had a plan, that he practiced every day, improved his performance and went to fight the dragon after exactly a month.

Why is this important?

Storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to convince and educate. At its best, a great story appeals to both our intellect and our emotions. The thing is that when we tell our stories in front of an audience there is a good chance that there will be people with each communication style present. If your story only caters for one or two communication styles then you might not effectively reach half of your audience.

We need to have an objective for our story and how we are going to win over each audience member, dependent on their communication style.

An example

Let’s say you have an opportunity to present a Sales Force Automation software solution to a group of 10 people. The story outline of your presentation would be a typical day in the life of a salesperson.

Here’s how the different communication styles might want to receive your message:

- The Driver/Red will want to know that the sales goals will be met and that they will get a huge bonus.

- The Expressive/Yellow wants ease of use and to be the company hero.

- The Amiable/Green will want to know that everyone is happy with the solution and that nobody is excluded.

- Lastly, the Analytical/Blue will want to know how long the return on investment will be and that forecasting is done more efficiently.

The aim is that when the group get together afterwards that they will all have been won over by your presentation.

Practical takeaway

When I next do a presentation or give a speech, I am not only going to try and include storytelling, but also try to accommodate every communication style of those listening. To do this, after I have prepared my message and story, I’ll need to take a step back and ask myself if everyone will receive what I want them to hear? Will I be able to win over every person in the room — regardless of the variety of communication styles? There will need to be four different strands to my story that are expertly interwoven to accommodate and influence all.

I would really like to hear if you give this a try and the impact that it has, so please contact me on

This blog represents my views and not the views of the company I work for.

This blog represents my views and not the views of the company I work for.

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