Snakes kill 220 people in one day!

 

This headline is true. It’s just not one that appears in our papers every day. And to be clear, snake bites are in no way one of the biggest threats to life we face as human beings – heart disease, diabetes, suicide to name but a few of the larger threats. And yet I can imagine that if we saw this headline every day the fear of snakes would be top of mind. Because… it’s the stories that we are told that affect what we think, do and feel. It’s the stories we hear that shape our reality.

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come”

 

– Steve Jobs

 

We are currently in the midst of a global health alert with the spread of the COVID-19 virus and we are all uncertain of course how this particular story will unfold. What’s clear from the media focus and breadth of coverage is that the story of the virus so far has penetrated deep into our lives. 

Story is powerful. Story creates our reality. And like a virus, stories can sweep across the world taking on a life of their own. And if we think about this in terms of our own day to day lives, the impact of our teams and the performance of our organisation, we would be foolish not to focus on the stories we are telling.

Storytelling is one of the most impactful tools at your disposal. Human beings are fundamentally wired to absorb information, buy into new ideas and trust people – through story. Studies confirm that social storytelling is responsible for more than 65% of conversations had in public. Often we either unconsciously absorb stories being fed to us by others, or we create stories of ourselves and our organisations without giving it much thought. I recently spent some time with an old friend who wasn’t feeling very motivated in his job and he casually made a flippant remark that his department was where careers came to die. We chuckled, and yet when I reflected on that comment I realised that he was creating a self-fulfilling prophecy based on the story that was being told. He was killing his own career through story!

 

Storytelling in our highly connected, online world is critical every day, but especially at times when perhaps the stories out there are impacting our business performance or team motivation. At 4D Human Being, through dynamic, practical virtual and face to face workshops and seminars, we help leaders, teams and individuals consciously communicate with impact every day. Discover the art of really engaging your team, colleagues and customers with emotionally charged stories that make you and you truly memorable, motivate your team, inspire your customers and shape the reality of your organisation. 

Penelope Waller
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