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The Power of Storytelling - Why we should tell more stories at work and the science behind it

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Wanna hear a story?

Are you ready?! Simply hearing that a story is about to unfold is often a sign that something exciting will come, and our brains say, "Yippee! Let me grab a coffee and a comfortable chair. I am ready to hear what you have to say!"

Open book illuminated by a tangle of string lights resting on the page
Photo by Nong on Unsplash

Storytelling has always been a way to connect with others, and in a digital age where we are flooded with information as we swipe through facts and data till we see another animal meme that has been fed to us by an algorithm, storytelling has become even more essential for human connection.

Stories tap into our emotions and embed deeply into our memories. A well-crafted story can evoke joy, sorrow, empathy, and exhilaration. In feeling, we remember, and in remembering, we connect. If you want someone to take action, they need to connect with you and your idea and remember what you are saying.

If you want someone to take action, they need to connect with you and your idea and remember what you are saying.

The Science Behind Storytelling

1. Engaging stories light up our brains. Neuroimaging studies reveal that storytelling activates multiple brain regions, including those responsible for language, sensory experiences, and emotions. This neurological party enhances our ability to process and remember information.

2. Empathy truly is a science. Welcome to the world of mirror neurons – a captivating discovery in neuroscience. These neurons ignite not only when we act but also when we witness someone else doing the same. This phenomenon fosters empathy, allowing us to feel the joys, sorrows, and triumphs of story characters as if they were our own.

3. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone. Oxytocin surges through our brains during emotionally charged moments in stories. It amplifies social bonding and trust, making us more open to the messages conveyed in a story.

4. Stories function like mental Velcro. Stories make it easier for us to remember facts and concepts. By providing context and meaning, narratives allow our brains to store and retrieve information more effectively. I once moderated a whole event, and the one thing that people still remember months later about my narrative is that I talked about ideas popping up everywhere as I used popcorn as a visual metaphor.

So, how do you apply storytelling in the context of your work? Check out my blog post here with concrete next steps you can take.

Ready to learn more about storytelling? Join me on this storytelling journey. Sign up for more insights; we'll take it one chapter at a time.

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