Friday, April 04, 2008

Don't make your case: tell your story instead

What if these were the most powerful words in the world:
"Let me tell you a story."

These are the most powerful words in the world. When we put a message into the form of a story, we make it tangible, emotional, and shared. Arguments divide: stories connect.

All stories are optimistic. When we tell war stories, we show that we have learned and that it is possible to survive struggles and move forward. Stories build resilience in difficult times and offer patterns of success when times are good.

Our stories have meaning that shifts a little as we tell them to different people. Stories are not patterns set in stone: they are a dynamic representation of a link between teller and listener. What the story means is what the listener thinks it means. The strategies, goals, and beliefs conveyed through stories are actively owned and actively shared.

Stories allow us to express conflict (within the story) without engaging in conflict (with our listeners). They allow us to build patterns of behaviour and belief that move us forward and ensure that we have company when we get where we are going.

Stories really do change the world.

Think about it. Visit my storytelling page at www.squidoo.com/changeyourstory.

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