I want to tell you a story

There have been a number of times this week where the subject of telling stories has come into the conversation. When I say this I mean that human beings are natural story tellers and it has been a feature of life throughout the ages.

I was particularly interested in some research that found some fairy tales that we all remember from childhood were 4000 or 6000 years old. They have been told through the generations and because they focus on human emotions and failings they are as relevant today as they were thousands of years ago.

If that is the case, and we are all really storytellers, then why don’t we make better use of it in the modern era? Storytelling is all around us. In a formal way it is on the television in the news, entertainment and information programmes. There are stories in all the newspapers and to some extent this can be seen as a form of storytelling, as I sit writing this blog.

New technology brings as many benefits as it does challenges. If we become too reliant on the 140 characters on Twitter or the short photo update on Facebook then we are not going to expand our storytelling abilities. And yet the chance to be able to use technology to blog, self-publish and crowdfund books is an amazing way to give everyone the chance to tell their story.

As communicators we know the importance of storytelling, taking people on a journey that will explain the organisation, what it is about, what it is doing and what it means to them. All too often though we become focused on sending out messages rather than on providing a coherent story for people. If we continue to do this then we are missing out on the opportunities that come from connecting with people on a personal level by sharing stories.

Stories are fundamental to us all. We share them every day as we tell people what we have done or we talk about an event in our lives. Telling stories surrounds us, it features in our lives, and we have so much more to give if we enjoy and find ways of sharing them. After all if stories have been able to survive for many thousands of years then surely we should be able to get maximum benefit from storytelling in our communication.

 

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