The Power of Storytelling: 10 Reasons Why Stories Are Such Powerful Tools

We’ve heard a lot about it. Speakers use it. Politicians love it… But Storytellers started it.

What exactly endears an audience to stories? And what makes it such a powerful communication and learning tool that has stood the test of time?

Here are 10 Reasons Why Storytelling is Such a Powerful & Effective Learning Tool.

10. Flexibility

You can tell the story of Little Red Riding Hood to different group of children, from across all ages and background, and be able to draw different learning lessons (re: Moral of the Story) to different audiences depending on their background.

It could be a lesson in “don’t talk to strangers”, “be careful when you’re travelling alone”, or “if you want to outsmart somebody, go all out and wear proper costumes”.

The point is, stories allow us an option of drawing different lessons without significantly changing their theme and content – which makes it an amazing tool for conveying thoughts and ideas to different groups of people.

9. It’s the Journey that Counts

Stories allow the audience to participate, and join you on journeys which they’ve never been through. Through effective use of storytelling techniques, you can transport the audience to faraway lands, and meet people they’ve never met – yet encounter and go through similar experiences you would like them to know about.

That makes stories to be an efficient tool for communication, and allows speakers to set the scene and guide the thought processes of their audience.

8. Engaging the Audience

Setting the stage and painting the poignant mental pictures, effective story telling techniques allow the audience to populate your scene through their own interpretation and understanding of the characters.

This allows the audience to stay psychologically and emotionally engaged with what you have to say, as you go about saying it.

This form of engagement enhances the realism of the message and points you’re trying to make, and helps the audience immerse and understand the point you’re trying to make better (think of the movie, Inception).

The trick however, is to learn how to set the scenes well, and facilitate its development.

7. Dramatization: Context  & Details

We all love a good show – for its twists, turns and surprises. A great story does the same to. It adds colour and excitement, and involves both our heads and heart as we listen to it.

Where information and statemetns provide us with a superficial understanding of issues, stories allow for visual and emotional engagement… and allows the audience to have a greater sense and appreciation of the context (the problem), and reasons for the solution.

6. Bending Reality

Let’s face it – like all our TV series and Movies, not all stories told are real. Yet, through the skill of effective story boarding and the powerful of language, we are able to insert details to “bend reality” and transport our audiences to settings that may or may not exist and experience events that we may not necessarily be able to experience in real life.

Again, it’s the journey that counts, and it’s through stories that we’d be able to experience them without the need to move a single muscle in our seats.

5. Programmed to Learn

Because of its flexibility and how simple it is to help an audience learn with it, stories have been used to train and impart knowledge and values to us since we were kids.

Our brains have henced been wired to accept stories to complement our vivid sense of imagination, creativity and understanding of language.

4. Replicability

Stories, with their characters and plots and structure, brings with it a world of its own.

What this means, is that anybody who knows of these would be able to tell and re-tell them over and over again. It is non-perishable, and for the reasons mentioned before – highly scaleable.

3. The More You Tell, the Better You Become

Unlike books, you won’t lose an idea because you share it. Rather, you become better at giving your “gifts” away when you use it.

Which is why stories are such attractive options for speakers, trainers and educators – once we’ve crafted one, we can use it over and over again… and we get better at telling them.

Talk about a virtuous cycle of returns!

2. Spontaneity

Since most stories are told from personal experiences, it provides the speaker with the opportunity to communicate a sense of spontaneity (and hence, sincerity) when communicating with the audience.

Prepared speeches may, after all, be “tweaked” and twisted to suit the purpose of the occassion… but surely a speaker without notes, telling us a story from “personal experience” is genuine right?

Not really.

But we cannot fight that sense of perception.

1. Sharing without Lecturing

Since stories allow listeners to interpret and populate the scenes with their own details, and make sense of the world… they provide speakers with the unique opportunity to communicate ideas without coming across as “lecturing” or “instructing” others on what to do.

It is this sense of “understanding” and personal appreciation of the issues unfolding that moves the audience to action, rather than a direct approach of the speaker telling us what to do because “he” thinks that that should be done “that way”.

Stories, hence, provide you with a unique opportunity to win people over to your side, by allowing the audience to walk with you and experience your lesson.


4 thoughts on “The Power of Storytelling: 10 Reasons Why Stories Are Such Powerful Tools”

  1. Gary,

    I couldn’t agree more that stories are a powerful way to get your message across. Parables, fables are all great, but for me – personal stories are always best. They build a personal connection with the audience in a way that is absorbing and powerful.

    Of course, when we’re telling a personal story, we have to be all the more careful about your last point – not lecturing., Personal stories always work better if we are the butt of the joke than the hero of the piece. That doesn’t mean it can’t end with a triumph, but there has to be some adversity along the way.

  2. Stories help people experienced what you have experienced. You allow them to make their own conclusions and bring with them a story that they can also tell others.

    Thank you for sharing your ideas.

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