WDYT 9/2020: The Essential Nature of Narratives and Storytelling

There is simply no way to overestimate the power of narrative and storytelling. Perhaps it is counterintuitive, but even in our hyper-connected digital world, storytelling has become more critical than ever.

Information and data can travel fast, but narratives have still real impact. As humans, we tend to always ask, “why?” than “what?” or “how?”. The “why” is the story behind everything we do and everything we want to achieve. We may not think much about it, but narrative sets the framework for our understanding. It helps define what is normal and what is legitimate. It also works to set the limits for what is politically possible in the sense of how we collectively make decisions as a group, organization, or even a country.

Patrick Reinsborough and Doyle Canning wrote in their article “Narrative Power Analysis,” “the currency of story is not truth, but meaning.” The power comes from the impact of the story on hearts and minds.

To get others to follow is not (just) a matter of a clear presentation of the facts. Whether you are leading a multinational corporation or just trying to get people to buy into your project, consider how you frame the narrative and spend more time on this. Tell the story. Help people to clearly understand the “why.” Show the meaning behind your facts and see if you are more successful in convincing them to follow your lead. What do you think?

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Christian is a manager, activist, author, lecturer and curator. https://christianhei.se

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Christian Heise

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Christian is a manager, activist, author, lecturer and curator. https://christianhei.se

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