The Magic of Stories

‘Once upon a time…’… these words would often have us mesmerized, taking us to ‘…a land far far away!’ Stories have worked their magic on us since we were infants. From bed time stories to pass-time stories, we graduated to story-books, movies, novels & then of course to listening to others’ stories (popularly termed as experiences).

Stories are used to create an impact in many different arenas. Besides the regular books & movies, we see/read/hear stories in advertisements, newspapers, gatherings and even training programs.

I believe stories play a very important role in training programs. I have been a part of some courses, where stories were the only thing that the participants took with them. They might forget the concepts they learned in the session, but remember the stories shared and how the concepts were applied, provided the stories were impactful.

So what makes a story impactful? Here are 3 points (in no specific order) that I believe are most important, that will ensure your participants remember the story a long time after walking out of the training room.

Keep it short

While there is no hard and fast rule around the duration, it is best to keep the story limited to 2 to 3 minutes. Anything longer and there is a fine chance you will start losing your audience (unless you are a master story teller).

Narration

Talking of master story teller, what makes them different from the ordinary story tellers? The narration! The way they narrate the story, you are immediately transported into the story. You are seeing it happen. The pace, tone & body language, all contribute to the experience.While story telling is an art, it is something we can all learn.

Message

We all have many stories to share. For some of us who don’t, Google can get you tons. But which story should you use? That would depend on what you are trying to convey to the audience. On who the audience is. On what kind of a story they will be able to best relate with?

What also helps are the characters in the story – the more the audience can connect with the character(s), the better they are able to relate to the story, and thus remain engaged.

So the next time you are trying to convey a message in a training program or for that matter in your regular interaction with your team, colleagues, boss, maybe even clients, use a story. It might just ensure that you ‘…live happily ever after!’

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