January 30, 2022

You have probably heard of storytelling … or been told a story, a tale, … but perhaps what you do not realize is that we use the ancient art of storytelling almost always in our everyday speech.

Storytelling is an interactive art that involves using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination.

It is not a new art: we are made of stories, and that is what has driven us to tell them for thousands of years. Storytelling is present in literature, comics and film, and as already mentioned, in the stories we tell others every day.

And so: why is storytelling so important when we communicate?

Well, our brain receives different stimuli when it learns something through stories, because stories appeal to our emotional side.

Knowing how to tell a compelling story can be incredibly powerful for your communication skills and, more importantly, can help you get messages across that people understand.

Let’s take the example of Charity water and its first TV campaign.

Charity water is a non-profit organization that provides access to clean water for people in developing countries. Their first campaign for donations was a failure.

Donations did not take off despite a video that registered over 2 million views. This campaign aimed to convince donors by providing only facts and figures. The marketing team therefore reworked the video and created a new one:

It was a great success. The number of donations soared. Thanks to this form of storytelling, donors felt empathy. Charity Water no longer appealed to their logic but to their feelings.

Storytelling as a tool for learning and inclusion

Over the years, the storytelling had increased its importance and, apart from its cultural and social role, it has become one of the most powerful educational and pedagogical tools. It is widely used in youth work as a therapeutic self-expressing and self-evaluating method.

This unique way of communication allows all kinds of messages to be delivered to the listener, fulfilling its purpose of, (when structured and well-delivered), provoking awareness (self and group), providing insight, and problem analysis, enabling concept deconstruction, and many other teaching and educating skills and competences, therefore it can be used in different educational and behavioral contexts like working on functional literacy, conflict management, creative writing, emotional intelligence, communication and social inclusion.

As mentioned in our first article, the “Draw your thoughts” project will aim to train youth workers in the storytelling method so that it can be used as a learning and inclusion method with young people.