Change minds by telling stories

You might recognise the titles of some of his books
You might recognise the titles of some of his books

I really like the work of Seth Godin. He is difficult to define but his own book blurb describes him as a “bestselling marketing author”. I subscribe to his blog to give me a daily dose of his thoughts, ideas, experience and wisdom. Sometimes I am inspired, occasionally confused and often even annoyed by what I read. He does not do bland.

Today his blog post  prompted me to write this one for mine.

Let me explain..

According to Mr Godin it is easy to disagree with someone if you take the stance that they are wrong, ill informed or a zealot. It is harder to disagree with someone if you take the time to acknowledge that they see the world differently from you.

As his background is in marketing he is looking at the problem of persuading customers to buy what is being offered and his suggestion of how to do that is

” we will make the change we seek by embracing the hard work of telling stories that resonate, as opposed to dismissing the other who appears not to get it.” ( there is a link to the full post at the foot of this one)


This is not only true in a marketing context – it is true on real life and work contexts.

Unfortunately ” telling stories ” has a bit of a bad reputation and is often associated with telling lies.

But illustrating your point or idea or experience by adding a relevant story can be very powerful.

There is a challenge here though…

Many ( most ) of us got out of the habit of telling stories when we were little kids. When I am working with young people in schools in the 13 – 18 year old age bracket getting them to speak up and be heard I know how hard they find it but when they do what a difference it makes.

When coaching clients during their job search and getting ready for their interview I ask them to tell me stories to illustrate a claim they are making to some skill or experience they have. After a bit of hesitation ( and sometimes resistance!) they realise that it could be worth the effort.

In my “Speaking Up For” workshops with business people I encourage them to develop their presenting skills ( for use in speaking up in meetings and similar situations as well as for making presentations)by including stories that explain  for example – what they do, why they feel the way the do about their product or service or how their job matters. They are doing this in front of their peers and there are always some ” I didn’t know that…” or “aha” moments as a result.

So take a moment to think about a point you are trying to make and think about how you might illustrate that with a story….and see what happens.

And if you are interested  here is a link Seth Godin’s post 

If you would like to have a no obligation chat about telling stories to make more of an impact get in touch.