Technique of the Week #4: Storytelling

What you need to know

  • Storytelling may take many different forms (e.g., written, oral, video, drawings)
  • Storytelling is good for sharing knowledge, values, and creating emotional connection among the recipients.
  • Stories are memorable via the availability heuristic, and through elaboration (ability to create a vivid image)
  • Embeds tacit knowledge and values in narrative form.
  • Not good for sharing critical skills.

Resources, time, and skill

  • Depends on the individual. There are a few ways to practice to become better at storytelling. Good storytellers:
    • Take experiences and form them into stories.
    • Articulate stories in an eventful and memorable way. Usually by providing listeners with insights or examples of project issues/outcomes. This allows for a Q&A between storyteller and listener.

Key Considerations

“Tell me a story, please.” Remember the asking, the feeling of anticipation, of possibility, the satisfaction of having understood. Connection to deeper meaning, exploring of new worlds or concepts, the sense of authentic human emotion combine to make storytelling a vital contribution to KMb. Storytelling as means of knowledge sharing and cultural transmission is deeply ingrained in being human.

What makes a story compelling, illustrative, meaningful, and effective?: authentic emotion, relevance to the audience, draws a vivid picture that illustrates a point, creates a question, or gives the listener the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective.

Incorporating storytelling in your KMb

  • Use storytelling to connect and engage, to illustrate key points or issues, to demonstrate the relevance of the knowledge to a situation.
  • Observe storytellers. For those that engage you, what were the critical factors that made it work? For those that leave you cold what were the factors? Analyse the aspects that made it work, and try to incorporate them into their story.
  • Create your story, then practice it, share with colleagues, observe the response, and get feedback, tape yourself and review it.
  • Think about your target audience. What aspects of your story will connect with their reality?

The take away

  • Effective stories have authenticity, context, focus, meaning, and are memorable.

Resources:

Applications of storytelling in knowledge management

Using Storytelling As A Knowledge Mobilization Strategy

Digital Stories

Telling stories: Exploring research storytelling as a meaningful approach to knowledge mobilization with Indigenous research collaborators and diverse audiences in community-based participatory research.

Examples:

Non-for profit storytelling

What it feels like to be a black professor

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