Monday, June 27, 2016

The Power of a Story

I had just announced a break for lunch when one of the participants came up to me: "You have inspired me to my bones. But I'd like to know; what is it about your presentation that has such an appeal?" One of the other participants overheard the beginning of the conversation and joined in before I could reply: "It's his stories. That's what makes the difference!" From there we engaged in an intense exchange of insights about storytelling.

Let's pause to reflect: Something happens when we tell stories. More than anything, I believe stories have the power to connect and bind us together.

Story continued... During our conversation about stories it became clear that this man had just lost his job. He was now in the early stages of setting up his own company, trying to generate interest for a new product and service. Two weeks later he shared with me his newly established YouTube channel based on storytelling. From there, as they say, the rest is history..! (Not the most impactful story, I admit, but at least a brief introduction to the subject at hand.)

What is it about stories?
There are good reasons why a story has (lasting) impact. Here are five suggestions:
  1. A well told story creates mental pictures and a subjective visual experience extending the attention span.
  2. A meaningful story stirs interest, excitement, questions and expectations, making learning easier.
  3. A story with emotions helps us remember and retain the essence of a message.
  4. A specific story identifies how we can apply a principle in real life.
  5. An inspiring story instils faith, hope and dreams and awakens ambitions and goals to take action.

I could list quite a few more reasons why stories are so effective. But for now, let me challenge you, even if you're a business executive:
"If you need to communicate, ask questions. If you have to say something, tell stories.
Right now, our research team presents research in the form of stories. Here's a new sample from season 3 we just released.

How to tell a story?
Why not google "storytelling"? However, in the clip below, Danny provides the big picture.