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December 24, 2012 / innovationinitiator

Storytelling – The lost art of teaching

Prince Valiant: The Story-Telling Game softcov...

Prince Valiant: The Story-Telling Game softcover (1989) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Story telling

used to be one of the most powerful ways for transferring knowledge and experience to the future generations. For a substantial part of human civilization, the only method we had for teaching others was through telling the stories of our heroes and heroins and illustrating their struggles as a solution for our problems.
From the Quran to the Bible and the Bhagwad Gita, all religious books are essentially a collection of stories of exceptional people and what they did when faced with adversity.

While we have replaced the ancient tomes with the modern case studies, we have also started loosing the art of story telling. We rely more and more on boring numbers, data and charts to ‘sell’ our dreams to others.

Think of the last sales meeting or presentation you sat through? Irrespective of the kind of product that was being sold (consumer or business focused) chances are that you sat through a 43 slide presentation largely filled with technical and marketing gobble-de-gook that tells you very little about how it make a difference to you and more about why the company feels that they are cool!

One of the best story tellers in the modern times has been Steve Jobs. The predictable clothes, the same fonts, similar tempo but….

Steve Job’s built Apple on the power of dreams. Apple doesn’t sell you computers, music players or portable computing devices. Apple is in the business of selling you dreams and possibilities.

The possibility of being a great graphic designer, or a award winning video producer, or of being the only kid in the block with the coolest mobile phone. Sure they make great products, but its the dreams and possibilities that they promise that makes their products successful.

hedgeI bought my Mac for the same reason – 27.7 inches of possibility. I saw my photo of  ‘A hedge’ wining the 2012 IPA and my videos being nominated for the Oscars.

For the Leadership Insights series we have used the story telling format to capture learning and insights of super achievers and lead radicals.

Each story talks about a specific event in the speakers life and about how they engaged with it. Each story is a self contained lesson which leaves the learning to you.

You choose if you want to be inspired, surprised, motivated or activated. The speakers are sharing their experiences  you choose what you want to do with it.

To know more about the Leadership Insights series, click here.

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