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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Great coaches know how to tell a story

Good Story Telling

Great instructors, speakers, and trainers always tell stories - because "story telling" brings ideas, concepts, and methods into a single "thought" or "reflection" point.  In fact, studies conducted by psychologists indicate that when people tell stories, different elements of our brain signal light up and we instinctively connect with the speakers.

Based on LSI's experience, however, story telling is only effective when combined with other delivery methods, such as simulations, ice breakers, animations/videos, group discussions, etc, - to make the entire process seamless, entertaining, and educational at the same time.

I think many of our past students of Greenbelt class have seen this slide, but for those of you who have not, here's a PDF copy of a single slide "story telling" cheat sheet.  It shows that the best way to conduct a flawless workshop is to follow these elements in sequence (though you can start anywhere in the circle).  I like to start from the "Tell a Story" section, but sometimes I start from "Simulation" or "Show Real Examples".  The trick is to work around the circle and try to deliver at least some elements of each section.  A good instructor or trainer will work around these elements in about an hour, so that participants feel that the seminar is moving along at a good pace.

If you do it right, people who are in your seminar will never get bored and will stay engaged.  My suggestion is to print this out in full color and carry a laminated version of it.  Even if you are doing a casual "on the fly" talk with no preparation whatsoever, having this sheet in front of you will provide some framework and structure.  Give it a try.
Coach Story Telling - Web

1 comment:

Lori Silverman said...


It's so great to see this post about the use of stories and their integration with other modalities in training. My colleague, Maey Wacker and I wrote a book called Stories Trainers Tell that provides significant detail around the items you mention - and provides training modules for 54 stories that anyone can use.

I hope this resource is of value to you and your readers.

Kind regards,
Lori Silverman
author, Wake Me Up When the Data Is Over: How Organiztions Use Stories to Drive Results