Storytelling is our native language, helping us to make sense of our universe. Way back when, when Og gathered his friends around the campfire to share his story of the day’s great hunting trip, he both entertained and taught through the use of story. But there are storytellers, and then there are great storytellers!
Our roots are in the entertainment industry. It is from that base that we learned how to create great stories! Great stories have at least six elements in common: Plot, Conflict/Resolution, Character(s), Setting, Voice, and Emotion. A great story has a plot so that it flows well. The plot has to contain some sort of conflict or dynamic tension. That conflict has to be resolved or you leave the listener hanging. The characters help you to relate and cause you to identify with them and with the story itself.
Stories always have a sense of place or a setting. They happen somewhere. That “place” might be inside a theoretical world. For instance, physicists tell stories all the time…and they use numbers to do it, not even words! Stories are told. That is, they have a voice, or a point of view. There’s a storyteller!
And last, but certainly not least, the best stories create emotion in the listener. When we recall an experience, the imagery is what evokes the feelings. When you tell a great story, you pull out those emotions in the listener. In fact, emotion is what makes the story become real. So we use story to create buy-in from the listeners.
Information alone doesn’t work this way. Information and facts create critique, where stories create participation. When you share a story, you are better able to build trust and connections in relationships AND move a learner from collecting information to gaining knowledge and understanding. The story helps them incorporate that understanding. They really begin to bring it into themselves! Not only that, emotion helps people to remember a story, and it makes them want to retell it! It helps the knowledge become viral!
Great stories facilitate the suspension of disbelief. For instance, when you are watching a movie, you know that it’s just a movie, but if the story’s right, you accept the story as real while it’s being told. Your body reacts. Depending on the story, you may get tense. You may get angry… or sad. Once that happens, information can be more easily processed, stored, and retrieved.
The story carries the information into your very being in ways that facts alone cannot. So we take what we know works from the entertainment side of the house, and we use it to craft a story for each of our learning products. A well-crafted story will use all of these story elements to drive the learning, and allow the learners to practice with information or tasks so that a positive transfer of learning into the “real world” can happen easily.
Like we said…none of this is new! What is new is, at IDEAS Learning, we’ve studied and perfected the art of storytelling and teaching, and we are masters at it!
Create, recommend and provide guidance, standards, process, and tools to effectively implement change within the organizational culture and to establish a warrior-family centered culture of care and service.