Why Is Story Telling So Powerful In Learning, And How Can You Learn The Skills

There's a growing recognition that Native people who used the oral tradition, relying on story telling for learning, had it right. Story telling is an incredibly powerful means of teaching and training. It personalized knowledge. We remember stories much better than "explanation".

In this section we'll talk about why story telling is so powerful and how trainers, teachers and leaders can learn the skills to be excellent story tellers.

Why Does Story Telling Work? It's Genetic

There's actually a biological reason why humans are so good at stories. No doubt you'll have observed that young children love stories, both hearing them and telling them. Not only that, but research (which you've probably never heard of, because it's pretty much restricted to journals, has shown that from a very young age, children understand the basic structure of stories (or narratives): Beginning, middle and end. In fact if you vary the stories you tell your kids, they quickly catch on that "you aren't telling it right".

You may also be aware that human beings have a special aptitude or genetically built in ability to learn language, that goes way beyond any other explanations. Children don't learn language like any other thing to learn (except for creeping and walking, where there's also a genetic, biological predisposition to learn these things.

In sort, it's built in, probably because the ability to learn language, syntax, grammar, semantics AND story structure probably provided an evolutionary advantage. Stories, both oral and in ancient "story telling" on cave walls has been around forever.

Story Telling Skills: They Have To Be Learned, And They Are Quite Subtle

While we understand the basics of story telling,  the ability to be a really good story teller is not innate. It's a bit like running. We can all run, but running as a professional athlete has to be learned.

If you ever listen to a top story teller, try to determine what they are doing that makes their efforts so compelling (try Stuart Mclean). The more you listen the more you'll find that the skills they use involve:

  • Setting up the listener by creating suspense and curiosity
  • Verbal pacing (pausing, speaking rates varied)
  • Preparing and planning the story in advance.

and a whole lot more.

Think of stand up comedians who work at perfecting each word of their story telling. It's very sophisticated, and effective story tellers use a number of techniques, that you can learn to help people in your classes learn more effectively.


Top : Training Methods and Activities : Storytelling : Story Telling Skills For Trainers, Leaders, Teachers

Storytelling used to be the most common way of teaching others, particularly in oral tradition based cultures. It still is a valuable learning and training tool. Here you will find help with using stories and fables for learning purposes in seminars, presentations, and training.

How to Use Storytelling to Increase Learning By Kat Koppett and Matthew S. Richter
Free book chapter explores the use of storytelling to increase learning for trainers and teachers. Hits: 993 )

70 Humorous Stories and How to Tell Them By Lifesmith
Truly ugly site from the old days of the web, but contains some excellent hints and tips on story telling, including some 70 stories to read. Hits: 929 )

Storytelling That Moves People By Robert McKee and Bronwyn Fryer
Lengthy article on story telling, it's relationship to effective leadership and more. Hits: 991 )

Elements of Great Storytelling By Andy Fraenkel
A nice piece with hints, tips and suggestions about how to do storytelling, including things like posture, gesture, structure, etc. Hits: 1632 )

Basic storytelling skills By na
For some events it may be helpful to offer guidance on how to tell a good story by teaching some traditional storytelling techniques. This can enhance communication skills, making the stories more engaging and thus more easily received by the audience. On a deeper level, presenting our personal stories as if they were traditional tales can affect how we relate to our experiences. It can help us digest experiences and to let go of our identification with them. Using traditional storytelling techniques is only appropriate with stories that do not contain traumatic content or strong unprocessed emotions. It works best in an atmosphere where participants are willing to be playful and share their experiences in a way that is entertaining for others. Here are five simple techniques that will improve your tale: Hits: 877 )

Effective Storytelling - a basic manual By Barry McWilliams
Tips advice on planning your story, preparing yourself in advance, adapting to your audience. Highly recommended, although the site is once again, ugly. Hits: 937 )

Emotional Authenticity for Storytellers By Doug Lipman
Emotion and communicating it are essential aspects of storytelling. In this article you'll learn why it's so important to demonstrate emotional authenticity. Hits: 596 )

Use Storytelling To Enliven And Enlighten Students By Kat Koppett and Matthew Richter
Story-telling as a training method works well in technical training. Story-telling can simplfy complex instruction. See your students learning experience can be maximized. Hits: 1112 )

The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains By Leo Widrich
More information on why our brains are set up to process stories so well, and how to use story telling to capitalize on this neuro skill. Hits: 1032 )

Storytelling: Your Hidden Storytelling Strengths By Doug Lipman
Superb beginning of a multi-part series on story telling skills. This one starts you off with recognizing your existing strengths that will help you become a excellent storyteller. Hits: 686 )

Leadership Through Storytelling - training techniques - Brief Article Training & Development - Find Articles By t and d
A very short brief article on the use of storytelling as a leadership technique, and a training technique. Hits: 1159 )

Mastering Oral Language Skills For Story Tellers By Doug Lipman
Learn about the oral language skills demonstrated by the best story tellers in this quality article. Hits: 612 )

The 4 Dangers of Storytelling Skills By Doug Lipman
If you focus too much on the mechanics of story telling, you run the risk of being disconnected from your audience, says this storytelling expert. Hits: 690 )

Tell to the Audience at Hand By Mary Hamilton
Includes a short explantion of the following tips: vary your words to suit the audience, varying your timing, use space appropriately for the size of audience, make eye contact, broaden repertoire. Hits: 954 )

Tips and techniques for using storytelling in technical training By Kat Koppett and Matthew Richter
Telling stories can be effective even during technical training. Here is an explanation, an example, and some advice on how to integrate stories in more technical type environments. Hits: 1237 )

Tips and techniques for using storytelling in technical training By Kat Koppett and Matthew Richter
Storytelling can help students understand difficult concepts and remember complex information. However, the prospect of creating these stories can be daunting for nonwriters. This outline can help trainers and students quickly write any kind of story. Hits: 843 )

Mark Twain On The Art Of Story Telling By Mark Twain
Mark Twain was a consummate story teller so it makes sense to see what his advice is on telling stories. Written in...well, Mark Twain's own amazing style. Hits: 859 )

Storytelling as A Teaching Tool By John C Lasne
A first person account relating the experiences of someone who uses storytelling as a teaching and training tool. Hits: 1491 )

Audience Participation Adds Power to Your Presentations By Chris King
Techniques to use to create meaningful audience participation such as "People Don't Aruge with Their Own Data," use the power of your eyes, etc. Hits: 906 )

Four Tips on Engaging and Training Employees Through Storytelling By Sara Rickover
More people are realizing the power of storytelling. This article looks at stories as ways to engage and train staff, affect organizational culture. Includes tips and suggestions for use. Hits: 1061 )

10 Best Practices for Using Storytelling in Training By Langevin
The use of stories in the learning environment can be one of the most powerful instructional techniques in your arsenal. It can help you get the learners' attention and aid with the retention of course information. You can use storytelling at the beginning of, during, or at the end of training. Yet, in order to have the greatest impact, you need to know your purpose in telling a story and keep some purpose-related guidelines in mind. Hits: 1479 )

A Storytelling Skills Rubric - Effective Delivery Of A Classroom Story By Heather Forest
Set of story telling skills to provide an idea of what you need to do to improve your ability to tell a compelling and memorable story in the classroom. Hits: 861 )

Storytelling: Relating And Adapting to Your Listeners By Doug Lipman
Learn the importance of creating rapport with your audience, and adapting your story as you go in light of the reactions you see from your audience. Hits: 668 )

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