Using The Ancient Power Of Story Telling To Get Things Done 

By Ange Fonce

What is the most ancient form of "passing on" information we as Humans have using to share with each other... first it was "verbal" sharing  then the "written word" and now we are in  the "digital world" and we are still "sharing" and using "stories" to "communicate" with each other... and telling stories is not just about the "word"... we share stories all the time by "non verbal means" as well... because what are "ancient cave paintings"... are they not "non verbal stories"... using "pictures" about "life" in those times... and "how" things were done!

In this article I want to focus on and share the "verbal power of storytelling" and "how" you can use "stories" to get your point across using "verbal means".. i.e... using words. 

So let us get into it...
Stories are one of the most "powerful ways" to "connect with people" and get your "meaning across" because we have been "communicating with stories" for thousands of years. 

Before the internet... magazines... books or any other form of printed material... of the more modern world... before clay... wood and stone... and even the land itself of the ancient world... we have used stories to "communicate" to one another to get our point across. 

It is as if "story telling" has become an integral part of our “humaness”... we are telling "stories" all the time... you could even look at it from the "perspective" of your own life being "your story!" 
Stories have been used to entertain... educate... forewarn... and and the more modern context... films... TV... and to market and sell just about anything... because when you tell someone a story "you" do not have to be the one delivering the message... you can use a "character" in the "story" to get the "message across" for you. 

It is a great way to "engage listeners" or "readers" and "deliver your message" at the same time.  
One of the "reasons" that storytelling is so "powerful"... is because as the "listener of the story"... we "naturally" put ourselves into the story "unconsciously"... it is how we "relate to the story" to make "sense" of it. 

And while we are "imagining" ourselves in the story... we are "feeling" what the characters in the story are "feeling" and "experiencing" the world through the character.  

So how do you use that to your "advantage" when "communicating" with someone?
Let me give you an example...
Suppose that you have a friend who is overweight and you want to convey to that friend that you are concerned for their health. 
You could just tell them that they are overweight and they need to lose weight... and saying that directly will not go over very well... and more and likely get you an angry and "resistant" response.
You could tell them a "story" about someone that you know... or a relative of yours...let us call him John... who was in a similar situation as theirs and this is what happened to him...
"John put off losing weight because he thought that although he did not like the idea of being overweight... it had not compromised his lifestyle until... he had a massive heart attack and required a triple bypass operation... after which John spent 4 weeks in the hospital recovering from the surgery... when I visited him in the hospital John told me how foolish he felt... pretending that nothing was wrong... all the while knowing that he was living on borrowed time... the doctors had told him that it was only a matter of time before something like this would happen... the scariest moment for John was looking at the faces of his young children and spouse as the ambulance doors closed... wondering if he was ever going to see his wife and two little girls again..."
I am making this "story" is fiction... yet it does bear the "reality" of "experience" of many mens lives... including my own father who suffered a massive heart attack and also people I know... who were overweight and did not care for their own health. 

Now... can you "see the difference" in the "impact" that the "story has" versus just "telling someone" that they need to lose weight? 
In the first instance you are "telling someone" that they better "change their habits" because they are overweight... in the second example you are "letting them experience" through the eyes of the character "John" what could be considered a worst case scenario of what could happen if they do not make some "changes" to their lifestyle. 
And by using this story you do not come off as being "bossy" or a "know it all"... you just shared and told the story and let the "character" do the "teaching" for you.
That is the power of a "simple story"... you can "engage" the "listeners emotions" and really "drive home" your "point" all through the great medium of "storytelling" 

Here is another example...

Let us say that you are a manager of a store... for the sake of the example let us say that it is a supermarket... and you notice that one of your employees... Josh is in the back of the store... leaning against one of the shelves and looking at his cell phone... what would you typically do in this situation? 

Well... if you are like most people I know... you might start off by nagging... lecturing... threatening or using the authority card. 

The downside with these "particular strategies" is that they may work on some occasions... yet they will not necessarily "change the behaviour" of Josh... in fact it may well cause the complete "opposite effect" in Josh... creating "resistance" and "resentment"... so instead of encouraging Josh to be more of a "productive" employee... you create an even more "unproductive" employee in Josh.  
Now... let us take it that Josh wants to do a good job and it is just that maybe he loses his focus at times.  
One of the "purposes" of "telling a story" is to "show" a "bigger picture" of what is going on... and  like I mentioned above you want to "create a story" where someone can "step into a role" and "experience" the world "through the eyes" of a character.
So what would you say to Josh to "drive home how important it is" for him to stay on task and do his job? 
How about something really simple...
"Josh... I am not sure if you realize it or not... there is a spill in aisle 5... it looks like someone spilled a bottle of water and the floor is slippery... I just saw a mother walk down the aisle holding on to her 6 year old sons hand and the little boy slipped and fell... almost pulling down his mother..."      
Now... the odds are that Josh wanting to do a good job... before you even finish the "story"... Josh will be grabbing his mop and rushing to aisle 5 to clean up the spill before anybody gets hurt... I know I am making an assumption here... that he wants his job and wants to do well... if he does not... then you know you have got a "problem" on your hands.

Be "honest"... now what would you have said... 

"Josh... go grab a mop and broom and clean up aisle 5 now!"
"Josh... you have been on break long enough... get back to work!"
"Josh... if you do not put that cell phone away now then you are fired!"
Now... in looking at those "statements"... do any of them have the same "power" that the "simple story" does? 

Absolutely not!
And on top of that... when you use even a "simple story" like this... you avoid the "me versus you" mentality that will "prevent people" from doing what you say just because it is "coming from you!"
Thank you and may you enjoy a Prosperous and Dynamic day!

Yours Sincerely

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Ange is an  Author... Speaker... and Dynamic Peak Performance Personal Development Consultant... and Humanistic Counselling Psychologist and Sexologist... who works with men and women who desire to personally develop themselves and their relationships to become Dynamic Lifers... creators of their own life and wealth! 

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