Published by The Advocacy Committee of the
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Storytelling Makes a Comeback in an Unlikely Place

Wisconsin Technology Network , September 13, 2004


The World Future Society is an association of people interested in how social and technological developments are shaping the future. The Society was founded in 1966 and is chartered as a nonprofit educational and scientific organization in Washington, D.C. Members of the World Future Society came together recently to hear a story of an emerging trend in the corporate world — the use of storytelling as a business tool.

Lori Silverman, owner of the consulting firm Partners for Progress and co-author of the organizational performance book Critical Shift, explained how simply using stories canchange the whole face of a business, creating better communication and commitment in the workforce.

Bullet points, which are used very freely in the business setting, do not work well for conveying information because the information comes too quickly with no context, she said. The human brain is actually set up to handle information on a narrative level, because there is progression of thought and memorable key points. Good stories can bring out an actual reaction that bullet points can’t — laughter or smiles at something funny, or a personal connection when the story reminds them of something in their own lives. More than that though, a story with upheaval and depth can stir people into action.

“That is the key — it could be change in people’s attitudes, beliefs, or behaviors,” Silverman said. “And I think that is what they’re truly looking for in organizations today.”

Subjects Covered: business

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