+1 347 223 5128

+44 20 3744 5675

Our professional consultants are ready to guide you


Change Your Life Through Storytelling

Back to blog


You’ve heard it a million times: storytelling gets results. It’s true that telling stories is the key to effective communication in your career, but why? Doesn’t a lot of your day-to-day work boil down just to facts, data, and procedures? Aren’t stories mostly for fun?

They certainly can be fun, but stories are for so much more. Psychologists and neuroscientists demonstrate that narrative framing is how we humans, ‘the storytelling animals,’ make sense of everything. But it’s not just rational sense they’re referring to. It’s emotional sense as well. If you want to clarify, persuade, or make a lasting impression when you’re making a point, you can appeal to both the mind and the heart through stories. The most effective leaders know it. People leap into action for you when they feel like they know what adventure they’re on.

I’ve taught group workshops and done one-on-one storytelling coaching with teachers, preachers, lawyers, therapists, marketers, doctors, artists, bankers, activists, you name it. I’ve taught so many people how to grab others’ attention, connect with them on a powerfully human level, enlighten their listeners and inspire real change from them. And that was all in the context of learning about storytelling, which is fun and engaging in and of itself.

I once coached an Information Technology team on how to communicate with co-workers, clients, and customers. One thing everyone on the team had in common was a love of comic books. I asked if any of them could share with me a brief summary of a recent storyline for a comic book character they all knew — one in which the hero had a bit of a problem or a desire to make a change that he or she pursued. This was a fun little challenge for me because I’m not at all familiar with comic books! But sure enough, I was able to help them see how a recent problem their team had overcome in revamping the cybersecurity for another department in their firm followed similar story patterns as their comic book hero’s journey. I reminded them that they had first shared the history of the problem they solved with me by listing facts, data and procedural points. But when they shifted the focus and made that chronicle about the human beings involved — their hopes, fears, and changing emotions as they were cooperating or clashing along the way — it became a moving and memorable story.

In fact, that I.T. team was able to share that story on many occasions after that to persuade others that they were a resourceful team with heart. I always say that what makes stories important is the factor of caring. If you can convey how much the characters cared about the situation in the story, the listeners will care too. Because stories engage not just our rational minds, which grasp the facts, data and procedures described, but also our emotional intelligence, which gets us feeling suspense, concern, empathy, and so much more for the people affected by the events described. Being moved in that way when we hear stories makes the information in them “stick.” We’re much more likely to remember information contained in a package that got us feeling feelings.

The good news is that while it’s true that some people have a natural talent for storytelling, it’s also true that the basic skills of successful storytelling can be mastered by anyone with some training and practice. It might take a bit of time and effort, but you can learn how to incorporate lots of sensory details and directly quoted dialogue in your stories, plus an emotional throughline and a controlling idea. And the best part is that learning and practicing storytelling is just as captivating and rewarding as stories themselves can be.

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “I don’t have any stories… but when I do, I’m so terrible at telling them!” By giving that person some clear and supportive coaching, I get to gradually watch them learn to shine and wow people with their stories. It is so often the people who start out the most anxious or doubtful who end up excelling at storytelling after giving training a good chance. I’ve seen people remake their businesses, their careers, their social lives, and their dating lives after learning storytelling. It’s amazing to see how effectively this art form that portrays transformation in the imagination helps to bring transformation into the real world.

Need help finding a speaker for the perfect event?

Send a simple request. You’ll get a quick reply with fees and availability

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.