At a recent Advanced Presentation Skills workshop, we spent a day with the senior vice presidents of sales representing a global  manufacturing organization.

We asked these SVPs if they regularly used stories as part of their business communications, from informal conversations to decision making presentations.

Only half of the attendees raised their hands.

When we asked for comment from those who had not raised their hands, one of the attendees said he made a point of not using stories in business presentations.

“My grandfather was a natural storyteller, and I am not,” he said. “And I know that if you tell a story and it doesn’t come off right, you look like you’re just trying to play someone. So that’s why I don’t do it.”

Later in the workshop, every attendee was required to tell a very personal story. Sometimes, in the telling of these stories, emotions ran high.

One attendee asked, “Is this normal?”

The answer is: Yes.

And that’s the point. We’ve come to a place where many believe that stories about personal or professional experience do not have a place at the business table.

But that idea runs counter to the history of human experience, which has been told, without exception, through stories.

There is no explanation other than that we humans are wired this way. We tell stories in our families and with our friends. Why would we not extend the same genuine connection to our established and developing business relationships?

Back to the SVPs in the Advanced Presentation Skills Training. Turns out, they were all master storytellers. But half of them hadn’t even admitted it to themselves or connected that ability to their success in building enduring business relationships.

So how about you?

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Donna Warrick, President of Jamesson Solutions, Inc., brings solid experience facilitating programs for team development, leadership development, change management, conflict management and presentation skills, and more. She has worked with organizations ranging from small businesses to Global Fortune 100 companies across many industries.

Jamesson Solutions is introducing a new offering, Intentional Storytelling, which helps managers and executives incorporate storytelling into business communications and presentations.