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Why is storytelling so important?

Stories are everywhere… so much so that we don’t even notice them most of the time. They share insights; they influence our buying behaviour; they influence what we believe, think and do – about ourselves and others.


A father said to his son: “This is a watch your grandfather gave me, and is more than 200 years old. But before I give it to you, go to the watch shop on the first street, and tell him I want to sell it, and see how much he offers you”.

He went, and then came back to his father, and said, “the watchmaker offered 5 dollars because it’s old”.

 He said to him : “go to the coffee shop”.

He went and then came back, and said: “He offered $5 father”.

“Go to the museum and show that watch”.

He went then came back, and said to his father “They offered me a million dollars for this piece”.

 The father said: “I wanted to let you know that the right place values you in right way.

Don’t find yourself in the wrong place and get angry if you are not valued.

Those that know your value are those who appreciate you, don’t stay in a place where nobody sees your value”.

Know your worth.


I love that story. It’s such a powerful reminder that we often undersell ourselves, because we are not sharing our stories and worth with the right people. The best managers I’ve had have valued me for who I am and what I bring. The others…well, they’ve probably wanted me to be someone else. Which perhaps is why people leave because of managers more than because of the job.

How do you feel reading it?

Effective stories influence our emotions. Some in big and obvious ways, some in subtle ways.

 Have you noticed what they sell in Coca Cola ads? They aren’t telling you to buy a coke, they are selling you the story that having a coke means having fun times. Similarly with one of the recent Santa Fe (car) ads… if you break it down to it’s bare points, they are promoting that they have USB ports in the back seat. What they are selling is the idea that driving this car will make life with young children calm, peaceful and relaxing.

When people leave a review on a product, the most useful ones tell us a story. When we catch up with our friends and they share what has been happening, we connect through sharing the emotions connected with their story….

What stories do you notice others are sharing, and what stories are you telling yourself?

What I notice with many students, is that when things start to challenging, the stories they tell about themselves and to themselves shifts. And not in a good way.

We define ourselves by our stories, and so we need to be careful about the stories we curate.

“I thought it would be easy. I am so naive. I don’t belong here”

“I’m too stupid to do this. Everyone else gets it. It can’t be that hard.”

… it starts with listening to our self talk… and it expands, taking on a life of its own…

“I am just one of those people who is not cut out for studying. I was never very good at school and a total failure at University. I’ll never be anything more than I am now. “

What stories do you want your students and your staff to be telling themselves?

How can you influence that?

(Hint: what you say and how you say it makes an impact)