Words That Change

Making stories happen

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Welcome > Stories > Your insight is worth more than 1,000 research hours

Your insight is worth more than 1,000 research hours

Presentations can be long and difficult. I’m sure you have been in situations where a presenter has a lot of information to share, is slightly embarrassed about how much and knows the audience is losing interest. Sometimes they whither and trail on in finer and finer detail, taking refuge in models and things-that-have-been-thought-through-by those-cleverer-than-I.

A storyteller holds attention because what they say is true
As both a speaker and listener in such a situation, I would like to think we can do better. We trust ourselves to borrow others’ research, but not to share our own insights because they have not been objectively proven. We feel our perspective is not legitimate because it is not been born out of years of objective research. Better to model and muddle, be safe while confusing eachother.

When someone does speak from their own perspective, dares to inject a sense of value into the discussion, it can be breathtaking. We feel we are being communicated to. Someone has slipped the cloak and started talking to us as human. It is risky because our opinions – the real, important ones – are often things we care about. Sharing them means they could get trashed or broken.

Getting real
A storyteller is someone who is prepared to stand as they are – and as they are not. Storytelling is not accumulated structure of narrative, the ability to make playful digressions, or  skilful use of metaphor. A storyteller holds attention because what they say is true. They are not ‘moving the room from A to B’*. They are speaking to its audience as people. They are honouring a moment shared between beings. A whole wealth of research, models and logic can flood in, but it all serves the real communication (deriv. Latin ‘to share’). In that field,  any storyteller will gain a listening audience. Because a storyteller does not treat the privilege of communication amongst people lightly.


* I was recently instructed to do this in a speaker’s workshop – I am still baffled.

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Storytelling is so necessary in the social change and social business space. Good storytelling is hard to find. Words that Change is filling this gap, I love reading the blog! ~ Chloe Feinberg, Ashoka Changemakers


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