Humans Hard-Wired for Stories

At the ci2011 Global Conference in Melbourne was opening speaker Professor Allan Fels AO.  His words were music to my ears.

Professor Fels started talking about the power of storytelling and that “as humans we are hardwired to tell stories and hardwired to listen to stories”.

He said “70% of what we learn is through stories” and that “storytelling is essential for innovation“.  Let’s look at Professor Fels two statements and why they ring so true.

“70% of what we learn is through stories”– Think of the last presentation you went to, or conference.  Was it the stories you remember?  Stories are how we make sense of the world, it is how we learn and it is what we remember.  Stories have the ability to not only help people understand what we are saying but they also allow people to remember what we have said and retell others without losing its meaning.  These are the three universal challenges as leaders, as teachers, as presenters and even as parents.

Do they understand what I am saying?

Will they remember what I am saying?

Can they share what I have said with others?

Stories will help you achieve traction on all those three challenges.

Storytelling is essentional for innovation” – During the conference we heard many views on what is essential for innovation, such as diversity, collaboration and culture of risk taking …and these are all important.  But once we have that culture of risk taking and once we have brought together a diverse group of minds in a collaborative envirnment it is the stories that are shared that will generate real innovation.  Why?   Because stories of what is possible sparks other stories of what is possible.  When people hear stories, they suspend judgement and stories when done right provide a glimpse of future possibilities and opportunities.

Thank you Professor Allan Fels for showing us the power of storytelling so succinctly.

Article posted by One Thousand & One, organisational storytelling (Australia)


By | 2015-01-15T16:13:29+00:00 November 24th, 2011|Storytelling|2 Comments

About the Author:

Eva Grayzel, a nationally recognized Master Storyteller and performance artist, was diagnosed at age 33 with stage IV oral cancer and given a 15% chance of survival. After regaining her deep vibrant voice, Eva applied her stage skills to communicate the depth of her experience in a unique and powerful way. For over a decade, Eva has captivated dental professionals worldwide using her story as a catalyst for change. She performed ‘Tongue-Tied’ Off-Broadway in New York City to a sold-out audience. A champion for early detection, Eva founded the Six-Step Screening™ oral cancer awareness campaign, for which she was recognized by the American Academy of Oral Medicine. She is the author of ‘Mr. C Plays Hide & Seek’ and ‘Mr. C the Globetrotter.’ In 2017, she created ‘My Story Legacy,’ a creative format to document family stories, life values and wisdom for future generations.


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