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The power of storytelling in the world of personal development

If you work within the arena of people development or internal communications, my guess is you’re constantly curating, creating and telling stories.

Storytelling is an essential skill for anyone leading a team, working collaboratively or influencing others. It’s a proven and powerful way to drive motivation and engagement. And it’s a theme I’ve had the pleasure of exploring with lots of clients over the past few months.

Why does storytelling strike such a chord with people worldwide?

Stories are an integral part of what it means to be human. They are the pathway to engaging the right hemisphere of the brain. They stimulate our imagination and fire up our emotions. Which is why stories have been a primal form of communication for millennia – from cave paintings to tribal dances, religious texts to myths and nursery rhymes. And this human need for stories shows no signs of waning.

Over 500 million people use Instagram stories every single day whilst messages delivered as stories are reported to be up to 22 times more memorable than cold, hard facts or statements alone.

Through stories, we’re able to share our feelings, emotions, passions, meaning and purpose. Stories are the common ground that allows us to communicate with others. They break down barriers, overcoming our defences and our differences. They allow us to understand ourselves better and find our commonality with those around us – both in and outside of work. And most of all, they’re so memorable that they remain etched indefinitely in our conscious and subconscious.

What role does storytelling play in the world of personal development and professional growth?

PRINT® enables us to share our own unique story with others. Whether you experience it in a 1-1 debrief or in a setting with your peers, PRINT® creates an environment that enables each of us to invite others into our world. To shift perspective and experience life through a different lens. Effectively bringing to life how we are all motivated in different ways, and we each bring something really valuable to the table.

As a PRINT® practitioner, facilitator and coach, I find storytelling is an important aspect of bringing the theory to life. It succinctly and powerfully connects people to their motivational drivers. Personal stories make every PRINT® session unique. And every story I hear adds further context and colour to my understanding of what makes people tick.

During a PRINT® Discovery session, I invite people to share the story of their why. It’s fascinating to hear the responses to questions such as:

• ‘Who are you when you’re at your best?’
• ‘Who are you when you’re not at your best?’
• ‘What is it like to be you?’  

For some, these are easy questions to answer. Others really have to take the time to think about their response. Regardless, it creates a richer conversation than stamping someone as a colour or type, and lifts the lid on what it means to be human.

These questions serve a double purpose. For starters, they encourage an individual to reflect and think deeply about their self-perception. Secondly, when the answers are shared with colleagues, family and friends, they provide an open window to peer through – instantly shining a light on what motivates that individual. In short, these questions create the foundations and framework for a really powerful story.

A PRINT® perspective leads to greater empathy at every level

PRINT® provides enormous insight and understanding – not only into ourselves but into others as well. Why do we do what we do? Why do we think what we think? And why do we feel what we feel? Listening to other people’s stories moves us into another world so we see differently, and are more empathetic of those around us.

And empathy really does matter. Not only is it critical to effective problem solving and successful negotiation, it’s also proven to be the top competence for strong leadership.

One client summed up perfectly the shift that PRINT® had amongst their leadership team:

We’ve found that the language of PRINT® creates an inclusive common ground for us to use, and leads to more professional and respectful conversations. PRINT® shifts your perspective and enables you to appreciate and understand another person’s point of view. It’s really powerful to start crucial conversations with.”

Anthropologist Gregory Bateson pointed out, “Wisdom comes from multiple perspectives”. PRINT® gives us such multiple perspectives. It creates the environment to explore alternatives and suspend judgement.

So if you’re looking for a way to inspire authentic storytelling, build better understanding amongst your team and gain greater awareness of your colleagues, PRINT® would well be your springboard to an epic anthology of unique perspectives.

Perspective – storytelling in personal development

Find out how PRINT® can unlock potential for you.

Meet the author

Kay Vessey

I’ve been an L&D specialist and enthusiast for as long as I can remember, and I get a real buzz out of supporting and developing people to reach their full potential in the workplace. A lot of what I do is based around transforming behaviours to enable people to be at their productive best. I advise on the psychology and strategy behind H&H’s creative internal comms projects, so that they really make an impact and engage the organisation.