What is storytelling?

Using an anecdote or story – personal, mythological, legendary, or otherwise – to illustrate a point or convey an idea. The parables of many religions and cultures are examples, as are the movies of today.

What is storytelling good for?

Mind map of the 12 classic stages of the hero's journey

Mind map of the 12 classic stages of the hero’s journey

We respond differently to stories than factual presentations. We connect with them emotionally and intuitively. They are open to interpretation depending on one’s own history and point of view. Because our minds store information relatedly, stories are usually more memorable than “facts and data” presentations, due to the richness of our own associations between the events of the story and our own experience.

Business books are full of stories. In professional education they’re called case studies.

Effective speakers use storytelling to create a connection with their audience, establish their credibility, and enroll support. Leaders pursuing a vision need to be able to communicate in these ways to gain support of others to make it a reality.

Where can I learn more about storytelling?


Professional (traditional) storytellers
Jay O’Callahan
Doug Stevenson
Doug Lipman

Corporate/organizational storytelling
Thoughts on storytelling from Steve Denning
Storytelling: Passport to the 21st Century
Storytelling resources from Group Process Consulting


The Story Factor: Secrets of Influence from the Art of Storytelling, Annette Simmons, 2001, Basic Books, NY, NY

The Springboard: How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organizations, Stephen Denning, 2001, Butterworth-Heinnemann, Boston, MA