Everyone tells stories because we all want to communicate or share something. It may be in the form of services, products, expertise, talent, time, a message, etc. Regardless of the ministry type, everyone has to communicate something to those they are trying to reach. Many resist this reality because we have these images of what that communication means and what it requires…and it’s usually not pretty.
The art of communication is grounded in the art of telling. Seth Godin touches on the subject in his book, All Marketers Are Liars. We tell the stories we believe and hear the stories we want to believe.
Here are 7 things you should know about telling stories:
- The listener doesn’t care about you or your stories. They care about what meaning it offers them.
- People learn about themselves when listening to your stories.
- The difference between an illustration and a story is that an illustration underlines your interpretation while a story has multiple interpretations.
- Stories change meaning based on the point of view of the listener.
- Stories transcend time and space because they contain elements that are universal to the human experience.
- Stories appear in conversation, not monologue.
- The truth of stories is not validated in the halls of academia. Rather, the truth of a story is determined by the listener’s ability to gain new insight, affirm a decision, or better understand their worldview.
Tell stories. Just don’t think you hold the only key to their meaning. Choose the stories you tell based on what you learn from listening to the other person involved in the conversation.
What suggestions can you offer to others about storytelling?