Keys To Effective Storytelling
My wife is a teacher. A really good one, in fact – one who believes that students learn best by doing, sharing and reflecting rather than being lectured to.
She's at a conference right now on differentiated learning, and before she left we were talking about some of the strategies she uses maximize learning in classrooms that are filled with students of differing skill levels, talents and learning styles. The challenge is to have kids with such wide-ranging abilities, let alone motives, get engaged in a cohesive classroom learning process that meets all of their individual needs.
It struck me how similar our jobs are. Her kids are all different and she needs to take a group approach to individual needs, and I face the same sorts of challenges in business. How can I get a diverse audience to uniformly understand, accept and embrace my company's products?
My wife mentioned a variety of tactics in her approach to the job—multimedia projects, performance art, shared discovery, reflective writing, etc. — but there was one element that was at the heart of everything that she described.
People have responded to stories ever since the dawn of history. We’re hardwired for them — to tell them, to hear them, and to remember them. They’re how we illustrate our lives and make sense of the world around us. Most importantly, stories are the means by which we relate our views, experiences, and abstract thoughts to others.
Everyone — teachers, marketers or your Uncle Dudley — should consider the power of stories and their value, not just as a teaching tool or business tactic, but as an inherent life skill.
A good story adds value on a range of communication fronts:
Persuasively: When listeners follow a story, there is the possibility of getting them to invent a parallel story in their own environment. This co-created story becomes something they are prepared to embrace and defend.Continued on the next page