Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools leaders have when they aim to influence, teach, and inspire. Stories are as old as time. Ancient cultures, like tribes, used them to pass on traditions and wisdom to subsequent generations. Today, organizations use storytelling to provide immersive and engaging learning experiences.
What is it about storytelling that makes it an effective approach for learning?
The Learning Tribes team recently exhibited at the DevLearn conference & expo. The conference opened with a keynote titled, “What Makes a Captivating Story?” with Julie Snyder, the co-founder of Serial. Serial, a true-crime podcast, is one of the biggest stories in pop-culture history. Episodes of seasons one and two have been downloaded over 340 million times, establishing an ongoing world record. The podcast also won a Peabody award for its innovative telling of a long-form nonfiction story.
During the keynote, Snyder touched on the cultural impact Serial has created. The podcast has a cult-like following with thousands of conversations surrounding its stories in Reddit threads, Facebook groups, blogs, even copy-cat podcasts have formed. Their platform has connected millions of listeners in the short time it’s been in existence.
Works for everyone
Storytelling works for all learner types:
In any group, roughly 40 percent will be predominantly visual learners who learn best from videos, diagrams, or illustrations. Another 40 percent will be auditory, learning best through lectures and discussions. The remaining 20 percent are kinesthetic learners, who learn best by doing, experiencing, or feeling. Storytelling has aspects that work for all three types.
– Paul Smith, author of “Leader as Storyteller: 10 Reasons It Makes a Better Business Connection”
Our VP of Business Development, Dan Gizzi, hosted a session at DevLearn titled “Learning like Tribes.” Unlike the typical session structure, Dan took a storytelling approach to his presentation. He told the story of Kyle, a millennial sales executive, and his growth from team member to tribe member in his company. Our storytelling technique attracted a lot of eventgoers from different backgrounds and learning styles to engage with us.
Humans are driven by emotion, then rationality. Stories activate parts in the brain, called neural coupling, which allows the listener to turn the story into their own ideas and experience. Dopamine is also released by the brain when it experiences an emotional moment because it makes it easier to remember with accuracy. For these reasons, facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they’re part of a story.
Stories connect listeners, resonate with all types of learners, and if captivating, can trigger emotions that help the stories stick with learners long-term. Make sure you’re leveraging this powerful tool for your learning initiatives.
To read more about our DevLearn experience and our “Learning like Tribes” session, visit our blog.