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The Power of Storytelling and the human connection

, September 15, 2015, 0 Comments

stories-human-story-telling-marketexpress-inHuman beings are made up of stories. Stories and humans co-exist together to live, understand, learn, interpret, argue, accept, experience and transform. Stories exist from time immemorial. Inside a story there reside the past, the present and the future.

They have lived the bygone eras of the past, they stand witness to the present and all the information and knowledge are passed on to the future, in times to come through various sources, taking various forms. Many eons old values, beliefs, customs, traditions, culture, myths, legends, epics are all transferred, passed on from generations to generations through storytelling.

Forms, types and kinds of storytelling are myriad. They can be oral, visual, musical and even a performance or a combination of these. Every country has its own traditions. The nature: trees around, dazzling stars in the sky, buzzing bees, birds flying, animals in the forest; the blue, green, white, purple sea; tall green, brown, snow clad mountains and the man-made structures: amazing monuments, beautiful paintings, magnificent sculptures and museums and more are all embodiments of stories.

For instance, a banyan tree with roots deep down into the soils of the earth, with its huge, broad, round trunk and multitude of branches spread wide with leaves and fruits, has millions of stories stored in it. It has witnessed the stories of bygone times, stands tall in the now and will stand testimony to the times to come in the future.

Humans not only coexist with stories, but breathe in and out, daily, every moment, creating and embracing stories every second of their being alive. The kind of stories we want to create for ourselves with the powerful tool of storytelling, irrespective of the circumstances that exists in our lives, lies only with us. You can use storytelling to your advantage, the way you want. Humans are hardwired for stories. Stories are central to human existence, an act that you tell, experience, connects, unifies in a community to make meaning of the life we live.

Every story or a narrative is made up of a sequence, or series of events. Stories have a plot, conflict and resolution. Simply put, a story has a beginning, middle and an end.

According to research by Psychologists, stories helps in personifying abstract shapes and seek ourselves in the object around us. Stories also create sensory experiences. When we hear a story, our brains change dramatically. Not only are the language processing areas activated as we hear and see, but all those areas get activated which would have, if you were in the story yourself.

So when you see and hear, you also experience the story. And the brain doesn’t just stop at experiences. While listening to impactful stories, your brain can cause you to develop thoughts, opinions, ideas that align with the person telling a story. Your brain synchronizes with the person telling the story. By simply telling a story a person can plant ideas, thoughts and emotions to the listeners’ brain. That makes storytelling magical. It engages, connects, transfers and transforms you. You are never the same again, after you hear a powerful story.

The impact of storytelling can be multi-fold. It can be used in your personal or professional life or both. A mother or a grandmother uses storytelling to pass on the right values, wisdom, culture, beliefs, and build right attitudes, by telling fables, parables and epic tales. A teacher uses this powerful tool to pass on knowledge and learning. It aids the children learn new concepts and enjoy new places they have never been before. In a professional life, the leader takes on to storytelling to align his employees to the company’s vision, motivates them to execute the vision with a purpose.

Today, some intelligent companies also use this tool to resolve conflicts, build teams, and mobilize them for greater performance. In conflict management, it helps the members of the team to have another perspective, angle, view that was not accessible earlier. NGOs and community groups use storytelling to empower, uplift affected people in societies who are suffering, deprived and abused. It can be cathartic and it can liberate you from your limitations. Visionaries and Marketers engage audiences through storytelling to persuade, emotionally connect you to a cause or a brand or a goal to be achieved by facilitating you to take an action.

We have professional international storytellers like Judith Liberman from Turkey , Usha Venkatraman from Mumbai, Gauri Raje, Pomegranate Workshops and Geeta Ramanujam  who is inspiring, doing fabulous work, perform at various national and international storytelling events and conduct workshops for children, grown- ups, corporates and institutions. Kathalaya founded by Geeta Ramanujam in Bangalore, which began with a vision of making a positive social change in education through Storytelling, is today a full-fledged International Storytelling Academy with added divisions of Storytelling for Corporates and creating Storytelling Entrepreneurs.

In a blog, 8 Classic storytelling techniques for engaging presentations by Ffion Lindsay, she lucidly describes the eight-story telling techniques, how each of them can be used effectively that can capture the hearts and heads of the audiences.

You can choose it to be a traditional oral form or a new age digital medium, whichever, you choose, make your stories simple, emotional, truthful, real and valid.

So, become aware of the stories you create every day in your personal and professional lives, the pleasant and the unpleasant ones, make a choice, and go ahead and weave powerful stories that inspire meaningful change and fulfilment.

“If we could change the stories people hear every day, we could change the world.”   ― Judith Liberman

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ― Philip Pullman

“My life is storytelling. I believe in stories, in their incredible power to keep people alive, to keep the living alive, and the dead.”

― Tim O’Brien