Facts Compel, But Stories SELL
The teachers we loved the most in school were not the ones who walked in, gave us a list of things to remember, and walked out. The teachers we remember are the ones who made the information come alive. How did they do it? They showed us instead of just telling us.
Facts, figures, information, data – have no ability to convince and persuade.
The STORY is what we wrap that data in, so that it becomes entertaining, engaging, and allows the listener to experience the truth instead of just hearing it.
How do we incorporate story into our teaching?
- Understand its purpose as a tool to illustrate your point. Any lesson you have has a real life example. That is story.
- Understand the intent of your story. What do you want your listener to think, feel, and do as as result of hearing this story?
- Be able to clearly state in one sentence what that story is really about – the character, the conflict, the resolution, and the lesson learned. Not just what happened, but how you felt and what that story means to you.
- Write it in a clear concise way. An easy story formula is to set it up in three SHORT paragraphs: First paragraph gives me context and takes me to the scene. Second paragraph tells me what happened. Third paragraph tells me what you learned from it. If this is hard to do, it might be because you don’t really have clarity on the story’s objective, or you have more than one story and need to hone it down to something more specific. The shorter you make the story, the better.
- Write like you talk. This is a conversation not a performance. We often write like it’s meant to be read. Write it like it’s meant to be told. The more we feel like that is really you, the more we connect to your story.
- Use the Story + Lesson + Action Step Formula. Tell the story, tell us the lesson (or teaching point), and then give us an action step.
As you incorporate more stories into your teaching, you will find that your listener is more engaged during the story than when you’re just relaying information.
Don’t worry about having a perfect story. That’s not the point. The point is that you are using story to teach. Let it do the work.