The value of Storytelling

Do you present to an audience on a regular basis? Do you find it tricky to get your message across using typical Powerpoint-style bullet points, or even using more modern image-based slides?

Well, I certainly do, and I’m always on the lookout for means to improve my own presentation skills (I can hear my recent audiences now saying ‘Hell, yeah!”).  

Via Twitter, I came across this great post from Steve Dale, detailing the value of Storytelling as a means to get a message across, and more importantly, making that message stick:

I’ve been a long-time advocate of storytelling, and a regular follower of Shawn Callahan and his team over at Anecdote, but have only recently started to practice the techniques. I co-hosted an event with my colleague Michel Holmes where we used the Anecdote Storyelling Circles technique with a cohort of community of practice facilitators.  It was a bit of a learning process for me and Michael as well as for the delegates, but it all seemed to go very well, with lots of useful stories emerging from the facilitators on their experiences in cultivating CoPs.  I guess the measure of success in this instance is the fact that the facilitators asked if we could make this a regular event, which we’re now doing.

I also attended Shawn’s recent Storytelling Workshop that he ran during his vist to London, so I’m gradually gaining confidence in the techniques.

Shawn has posted this video which gives a good summary of the benefits of storytelling. To some this may all seem incredibly obvious, but the question occurs to me as to why this is not practiced more often as a means of sharing knowledge and information? I think most people would agree that it offers better learning potential than wading through the usual repositories of highly mediated and sanitised Case Studies and Success Stories.

Here’s the video:

This also made me think back to my complaint about the LCTY keynote back in April.

Storytelling is definitely something I’ll be looking into in more detail in the near future.

Stuart McIntyre is a Senior Strategist at Fostering Community Limited. He curates a number of product-focused news sites, is a lapsed podcaster, founded the Social Connections user group and regularly speaks at conferences and events. This blog represents his own slightly-eccentric and usually-controversial opinions!