I was recently asked in one of my business storytelling workshops a simple but important question: In what professions are storytelling skills important?
I thought a bit about it and the answer I came up with is: in pretty much every!
Well, you might think know, that this guy has to say exactly this since he is blogging about the importance of storytelling; and you´re absolutely right!
But think one moment about what storytelling is actually good for: it is good to explain things and especially to make complex things easier; it is good if you want people to remember things; it is a really good persuasion tool; it is a good tool to trigger action; it is good to motivate people and create empathy; it is good as a planning tool and, yes, storytelling is a really, really good selling tool!
So in which professions do all these skills come in handy? Right! … in pretty much every profession!
Narrative medicine and lying politicians
Think about some unrelated professions and how having storytelling skills can help you succeed in those:
Historians – They always have write stories of the past and make connections to future ages. Actually since school history books are written in a story format, the retention rate among students went significantly up.
Medics – “Narrative medicine” is actually a new buzzword I recently stumbled over. Professors in renowned medicine schools use doctor stories, written by famous authors to teach students to go beyond clinical diagnoses by listening fully to patients´ stories as a way to connect emotionally with them.
Psychotherapists – Similar to doctors. Storytelling can be a catharsis for the patient and story listening on the part of the therapist can open a productive communication with the patient. Stories can also be a really good sense-making tool.
Teachers – If they are good, they tell stories to deliver knowledge and make facts more entertaining and memorable .
Lawyers – Especially in the Amercian law system, lawyers better tell good stories to persuade the judge about their position. For them it is mainly a persuasive tool.
Economists – Economists constantly have to put complex data and analysis in concise and sense-making future stories. They also use future scenario stories as a decision-making tool to help the government forming a decision.
Politicians – They have to create scenarios about the future and convince people to follow them. For them it is mainly putting positive outcome stories in other people’s heads.
…and so and so on… (storytelling is especially powerful of course in media, the arts and business related professions)
So go out there now and strengthen your storytelling skills. It will do you good.