Skip to content

The Storytelling Equation

1 min read

The facts are useful but not enough. The story is entertaining but not enough. Combine the two and you facilitate the transfer of knowledge between generations, workgroups and cultures.

I heard an engineer talk about storytelling once. This man was the classic “engineer type,” somewhat reserved, wore glasses and sensible shoes. If slide rules still existed, he’d have one on his belt.

For his entire professional life he focused on getting things right by making sure his data was correct. “If I make the wrong calculation, the bridge falls down. There is no such thing as getting it approximately right”.

He went on to say that his grandparents were Choctaw Native Americans from Oklahoma and storytelling was part of their tradition. As a young boy he enjoyed listening to the stories told by the elders at the coffee shop in town. These stories served to both entertain and to pass on wisdom and knowledge in an engaging way.

In his life as an engineer it is the essential facts combined with great storytelling that help bring his projects to life for others. People want to know the bridge is safe but it is the story of how the bridge cuts half an hour off the school bus ride or how it connects people and families that grabs their attention.

In typical engineer fashion he showed me this equation:

DATA + STORY = KNOWLEDGE.

The facts are useful but not enough. The story is entertaining but not enough. Combine the two and you facilitate the transfer of knowledge between generations, workgroups and cultures.

Need help telling your story? Why not download our new ebook, Executive Essentials: Storytelling for FREE?

ebook

Virtual Presence Guide: How to Help Virtual Teams Create Authentic Connections

Download this guide to discover tips and best practices to help your teams be productive and engaged when working virtually.

View Resource