The power of telling stories


I am intrigued by how powerful stories are. It seems everyone enjoys a good story. Why? Maybe the real question is why not? Stories appeal to our vision and imagination. As the story is being told, as in unfolds before our ears, it is being formed in our minds. Those words are being brought to life and we are reliving whatever we are hearing.We might be listeners but we are very creators when it comes to the spoken word. That is how stories affect us when we hear them.

As a teacher I notice a big difference in the students where I am doing an ordinary lesson and when I am telling a story. The light up when a story is being told, you can see that sparkle in their eye. They are listening intently. You can tell their curiosity is really piqued. Even with my own children, when you tell a story they can stop what they are doing. They want to listen in and find out what happened next. That is the power of stories.  It seems information is so much easier to absorb and digest when it is presented as a story. Maybe that is just how we are wired as people, wired for stories.

Hard facts and information might be useful but not always interesting to glean on. However, when it is presented as a story, everything changes and this has huge implications for how we can share information in society, at work and at home, with the future generations. Stories are timeless. Remember when we were children and listening to folktales. Let’s use the power of stories to better share our insight and learnings and experiences with the rest of the world.

Stories can take so many forms, the visual form perhaps being the most powerful. But there is also the audio form and then there is the written form. One has to choose what is the most appropriate type of story for their audience. Even the timing can make a difference I think. A story shared early in the morning could perhaps be a bit more wordy than one shared after lunch time. People are probably more focussed earlier on in the day and concentration wanes as the day goes on.

The role of stories for me
Over the years I have created a number of websites. These are mostly chess websites given how much I love the game. (Africa Chess Net, PlayCom Chess, Kathu Chess, Maths Coach). Why it was not always clear what I wanted to do with these websites or how, it suddenly hit me today that what I really want to do is to inspire through stories. After all this time it has come down to that simple thing, stories.  How powerful are stories in your own life, I wonder!