The Power of Storytelling

The Power of Storytelling

It is summer and the perfect time to sit by the water with a great book. There is nothing like getting lost in a great novel.

Last night I had the privilege of hearing Geri England, a coach from Dallas, TX, talk about the power of storytelling. It was a great evening with fellow Austin coaches, telling each other stories and having our stories heard.

This is a gift both of my boys have, asking for stories. “Mom tell about the time …”. Storytelling is very bonding. Our being responds to each others’ stories like little else. Geri explained about the various chemicals that story produces in our brain, amazing.

Paul Zak writes a compelling article on the power of story and how we would benefit from incorporating it regularly in to our work environments and meetings.

Here are a couple of Zak’s key points, they are remarkable:

“Oxytocin is produced when we are trusted or shown a kindness, and it motivates cooperation with others. It does this by enhancing the sense of empathy, our ability to experience others’ emotions.”

“Character-driven stories do consistently cause oxytocin synthesis. Further, the amount of oxytocin released by the brain predicted how much people were willing to help others.”

Story allows us to experience connection with others and triggers our desire to help. Wow. No wonder it is getting noticed by businesses!

Some of the commercials that you have been most impacted by likely contain a story. Many of the best ones do.

One of my favorite commercials is for the BC Lions. As a coach it feels like it parallels what I get to do for a living - cheer people on - help them grab the victory that I know they are capable of grabbing.

Here it is, 30 awesome seconds:

When was the last time you just sat around with friends or family or work colleagues and told some stories?

How can you use stories for team building?

What story do you want to be living this week?

Until next week,


Marilyn Orr is a Professional Certified Coach, who, through her coaching business “Capacity Building Coaching”, thrives on building both personal and organization capacity through leadership coaching and development.

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