How To Lead a Storytelling Training

So you say you want to lead a storytelling training?

I’ve led hundreds of story trainings over the years and there are a few things I’d like to share in case you’re going to embark on this journey.

Here are four things to think about: Why stories matter, what stories are, how stories work and where to tell them.

Why stories matter: Your audience still may not be bought in on why stories matter. They may very well be in a rush to explain the information that they have to share. And it is pressure. I understand why. That’s why you should consider sharing some brain science.

Maybe it’s a little bit about about suspense releasing dopamine. About a little bit of cortisol when you have a little bit of stress, and how that enhances and deepens attention. About greater retention when dopamine sparks curiosity and enhances learning. About oxytocin and connection. Here’s more on that.

Next: What stories are. It’s immensely important to get clear on terms.

There are so many different beliefs around what stories are and what we mean when we’re talking about stories. People might think, well, the story is the thing that you say when you’re in your pitch; or a story is the thing that you post. Your story is the thing you’re attached to – and you need release.

What are the terms that you’re going to use to describe a story?

Here’s mine: A story is a problem approached in an interesting way that makes us care. It’s a problem; it’s not just a problem though. If it’s just a problem, and it goes through a solution, it’s not very interesting. That’s an explanation. A story is a problem approached in an interesting way.

Approached in an interesting way that makes us care. When they care, they remember, they feel connected to it and they can tell it again. That’s the idea behind a retellable story.

How to tell stories: I suggest that you come to this storytelling training with a framework. There are some really wonderful options. I know that Nancy Duarte has a great one. Of course there’s the Hero’s Journey. And the ABT framework. I can share a few links down below for you to explore some, and I welcome your suggestions.

And then there’s the Journey Curve that I use. The last part that I want to share is where to use the stories. It’s really important that you have some support from your team members, from your boss, from the CEO, to actually get them to tell stories out there in the world. That might be through social, it might be through your onboarding process, it might be in meetings…but you need a standard so that when you can circle back in a month, they will tell you the stories they’ve been working on and the stories that they’ve told, and so you can all workshop further together.

#training #storytelling #leadership

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