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Influence Through Storytelling


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From a workshop I facilitated at Vizthink 2009 on why stories are more effective than fact based methods at communicating complex ideas and inspiring people to want to change.

From a workshop I facilitated at Vizthink 2009 on why stories are more effective than fact based methods at communicating complex ideas and inspiring people to want to change.

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  • 1. Influence through storytelling Joyce Hostyn Senior Director, Experience Design Open Text
  • 2. amount of evidence of sabotage or treason against Japanese-American citizens
  • 3. The very fact that no sabotage has taken place is a disturbing and confirming indication that such action will be taken. General John DeWitt,WWII
  • 4. problem with facts power of story using story to effect change
  • 5. but before I start, I have a confession to make
  • 6. I’m not a natural born storyteller
  • 7. can’t draw
  • 8. BUT
  • 9. I believe powerfully
  • 10. in the power of story
  • 11. in visual thinking
  • 12. I have never given a single presentation on “why we need to do experience design”
  • 13. have never bothered cost justifying usability
  • 14. nevertheless
  • 15. I’ve built successful experience design teams
  • 16. and I’m on a mission to effect change through storytelling & design
  • 17. What I’ve learned from my experience
  • 18. You can use stories
  • 19. and visual thinking
  • 20. to influence people
  • 21. and effect change
  • 22. A health worker in Zambia, was struggling to find a solution for treating malaria. In this tiny and remote rural town, the health worker logged on to the Web site of the U.S.’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention and got an answer. [The World Bank] doesn’t have its know-how and expertise organized so that someone like the health worker in Zambia can have access to it. But just imagine if it did Stephen Denning
  • 23. What I’ll cover Three brain theory Some basics of storytelling The art of possibility
  • 24. but first
  • 25. Draw your life 2 wants (hopes for future) 4 you (reactions to idea of engaging people) current people 1 reality 3(important (parts that to your stand out) life)
  • 26. three brain theory
  • 27. we need to rethink a few assumptions
  • 28. the assumptions being Our model of the world is reality We are aware of what we do We know why we do what we do We remember things as they really happened
  • 29. in other words, our assumption that people are rational
  • 30. recent brain research tells us unconscious mind controls up to 95% of behavior
  • 31. We have three brains
  • 32. unconscious mind controls 95% of behaviour
  • 33. Lizard brain
  • 34. fight flight freeze
  • 35. can’t distinguish imagined reality from actuality
  • 36. Is it safe?
  • 37. Mammal brain emotions memories habits
  • 38. tacit or embodied (know-how)
  • 39. confidence is built on the experience of success
  • 40. When we leap to a decision or have a hunch, our unconscious is... sifting through the situation in front of us, throwing out all that is irrelevant while we zero in on what really matters. Malcom Gladwell, Blink
  • 41. Human brain reasons rationalizes
  • 42. became prized during age of enlightenment
  • 43. explicit or theoretical (know-why) 10 steps for organizational change 4 components for a balanced scorecard
  • 44. mammal brain makes decisions
  • 45. human brain rationalizes them
  • 46. we buy on emotion and justify with fact
  • 47. They come to act like rewards, and salad of the rest of the perfectly brain adapts itself grilled to predict and woodsy- woodsy- acquire them… It’s flavored a proxy for the calamari reward to come. Read Montague Why Choose This Book?
  • 48. logic emotions, memories, habits
  • 49. We think our models of the world are reality
  • 50. Meet Harry example from Roger Martin, The Opposable Mind
  • 51. Bill
  • 52. Sally
  • 53. I really like Innovate Corporation. It’s been an innovative leader for a long time. But I’m coming under increasing pressure and have to make trade-offs.
  • 54. Customers value leadership and innovation. Customers are feeling intense cost pressure.
  • 55. Customers will stick with us if we continue to innovate and lead. Customers will migrate away from us due to cost concerns and our pricing.
  • 56. Innovation and leadership are the most critical avenues to pursue. We’ve got to get our costs down so we can be price competitive.
  • 57. I really like Innovate Corporation. It’s been an innovative leader for a long time. But I’m coming under increasing pressure and have to make trade-offs.
  • 58. quot;A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing.quot; Kenneth Burke
  • 59. We often don't see what’s before our eyes. We see our concept of what reality should be… …what we expect to see.
  • 60. our reality illusion is in place
  • 61. and our experiences will tend to reinforce our initial stance
  • 62. as we weave those experiences into the story that already exists in our minds
  • 63. Rarely pausing to consciously inspect the state & activity of our unconscious mind
  • 64. we make sense of the world through stories
  • 65. story is the emotional experience
  • 66. the insight, the wisdom, the thing one has come to say
  • 67. Just the facts, mam
  • 68. Too often communicating like this • 981 people died in alcohol-related crashes in 2000 • Out of 420 pedestrian fatalities, 38 per cent of those tested for alcohol had been drinking, and most of these had BACs over 0.08. • Almost nine out of every 10 people killed in alcohol- related collisions (87.4 per cent) were in or on the drinking driver's vehicle (i.e. drivers/operators or passengers). • Almost nine out of every 10 drivers killed in alcohol- related collisions (87.5 per cent) were male. • Over half (56 per cent) of the drivers killed in single- vehicle crashes tested positive for alcohol, compared to only 20 per cent of those killed in multiple-vehicle crashes.
  • 69. Expecting listeners to accept the facts Everyone knows the You pulled those media exaggerates numbers out of thin air That’s actually not a lot
  • 70. Instead of telling stories
  • 71. Facts are meaningless without a contextual story
  • 72. War is evil. It’s always evil. It represents a massive human failure and never truly resolves anything.
  • 73. Evil exists in the world. If left unchecked, it can spread like a deadly disease.
  • 74. . AP AP
  • 75. We are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally twisting proved wrong, impudently the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield. George Orwell
  • 76. Facts are, quot;like fish in the Ocean,quot; that we may only happen to catch a few, only an indication of what is below the surface. E. H. Carr What is History?
  • 77. Fact is not dialog
  • 78. Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving there's no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof. John Kenneth Galbraith
  • 79. using facts kicks in the confirmation bias
  • 80. People don't need new facts. They need a new story. Annette Simmons The Story Factor
  • 81. three aspects of story Listening Thinking Telling
  • 82. Listening for stories
  • 83. WHO is your who?
  • 84. Conversations at the water cooler
  • 85. use the 5 whys to get to the real story
  • 86. Collect and capture stories
  • 87. Using emotional words frustrated elated angry exhausted awed timid disappointed stressed excited joyous confident nervous kindness honored depressed fearful shocked friendship hopeful relaxed proud despondent happy courageous accepted disgusted embarrassed amused surprise worried unhappy jealous close pity remorse sad appreciated distant respect
  • 88. Practice empathy, seek to understand first, and assume the best motives in others
  • 89. Who needs to change? Map their current ecosystem Wants Motivators Influencers Environment/context Tell a story of why they don’t want to change from their perspective
  • 90. learn to see the stories around you
  • 91. Thinking with stories
  • 92.
  • 93. use stories to think
  • 94. Telling stories
  • 95. Draw a timeline of Key dates • Incidents • Experiences that shaped you • Trials and turning points that tested you • Stories of childhood, family, school, loves • Development of political views •
  • 96. OMG new mom, new city, no job China nephew not a boss from acquired trip 1962 arrives nurse hell (again) Joan farm garden bound new boss passed over Sasha not a key Disney new prof from (again) school patrol arrives employee pitch boss hell
  • 97. six story types Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins, Annette Simmons
  • 98. People prefer not to trust you
  • 99. ambitious, greedy, inexperienced, dumb
  • 100. who I am break through the worst case stories they tell themselves about you with a story that builds faith in you
  • 101. Mine your timeline for stories HavenTree OMG pregnant, new city, no job nephew not a boss from acquired again 1962 arrives nurse hell Joan farm garden bound boss laid passed over Sasha Disney prof from not a key China off school patrol arrives pitch hell employee trip
  • 102. why I am here exposes what’s in it for you or people tend to make up ‘rat’ reasons
  • 103. teaching combine what with how less about what you want than how you want it done “What would <insert person here> do?”
  • 104. vision what’s in it for them so they can imagine the payoff in the future
  • 105. values in action about doing the right thing values create culture and culture creates values
  • 106. I know what you’re thinking we don’t come into a room with open minds, we already have a narrative in our head: “this is bullshit” brings an issue into the open and reframes it “I felt exactly the way you feel now”
  • 107. good stories create an experience in images that evokes an emotional response
  • 108. Carter's confidence, energy and intensely emotional delivery make her talks themselves a force of nature Guy Kawasaki on passion Majora Carter’s TED talk
  • 109. To provide food for her family, Sufiya worked all day in her muddy yard making bamboo stools.Yet somehow her hard work was unable to life her family out of Why? poverty. curiosity Muhammad Yunus pioneer of the microcredit movement
  • 110. authenticity
  • 111. hope
  • 112. emotional connection
  • 113. visual
  • 114. stories let gut feeling talk to gut feeling
  • 115. if what we see is a representation of reality
  • 116. stories are one of the most effective ways in which we communicate our view of reality to others
  • 117. transporting people to different points of view reframing what facts mean to them
  • 118. tell stories to connect
  • 119. People don't believe what you tell them They rarely believe what you show them They often believe what their friends tell them They always believe what they tell themselves What leaders do: they give people stories they can tell themselves Stories about the future and about change Seth Godin,Tribes
  • 120. we are all storytellers
  • 121. Who needs to change? Create a story that speaks to the person you want to change
  • 122. battle between two wolves
  • 123. the one you feed
  • 124. which one are you feeding?
  • 125. what stories are you telling to yourself, about yourself?
  • 126. Be careful how you interpret the world; it is like that. Erich Heller, British philosopher
  • 127. What’s the biggest thing stopping you from effecting change?
  • 128. NOT other people
  • 129. A hint
  • 130. judgment fear of
  • 131. failure fear of
  • 132. status preoccupation with
  • 133. uncertainty fear of
  • 134. unpredictability aversion to
  • 135. choosing fear of
  • 136. All of us construct narratives about ourselves – where we’ve come from, where we’re going. The kinds of stories we tell make an enormous difference in how well we cope with change. Hermina Ibarra and Kent Lineback,What’s Your Story?
  • 137. To effect change
  • 138. you need to take charge of your story
  • 139. because it’s the only story you truly have control over
  • 140. the art of possibility The most important story you will ever tell author your own about yourself is the story you tell to yourself. hero’s journey
  • 141. your To be authentic is literally to be own author... to discover your native energies and desires, and then find your way of acting on them. Warren Bennis, An Invented Life
  • 142.
  • 143. Kathy Sierra
  • 144. emotion & imagination can rewire our brains
  • 145. from victim (acted on)
  • 146. they would never let us
  • 147. nobody around here could ever do that
  • 148. there’s no point in even trying
  • 149. that’s not possible
  • 150. to hero (actor)
  • 151. I will
  • 152. I can’t
  • 153. I believe
  • 154. I choose
  • 155. I choose not
  • 156. I have a dream Martin Luther King Jr.
  • 157. Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Leo Tolstoy
  • 158. If you keep doing what you’ve always done… The most important story you will ever tell about yourself is the story you tell to yourself.
  • 159. based on assumptions
  • 160. the bedrock of your worldview
  • 161. that you’re not aware you’re making
  • 162. you have no control over your story
  • 163. Are your beliefs and values helping take your story where you Beliefs and values are not inherited or coded in the genes. They are assumptions about life. want to go?
  • 164. As long as you’re making assumptions…
  • 165. why not make assumptions that make you more powerful and effective
  • 166. knowing
  • 167. who you are
  • 168. what you want to do
  • 169. what you believe in
  • 170. what you aspire to
  • 171. Invent your future reality
  • 172. Expand your WANTS into a vision of your future reality • Keywords of desired future or change you want to implement • Elements • Language • Results • Influencers
  • 173. Paint a vivid picture of your future story
  • 174. rich with emotion & visuals
  • 175. tell your future story to others
  • 176. create a new language
  • 177. vision gap reality
  • 178. you to do things, you're got to To get create a purpose and a story so compelling that you are moved to make those corrections in your life, and make them for good. Geoffrey M. Bellman Getting Things Done When You Are Not in Charge
  • 179. gives you
  • 180. courage
  • 181. focus
  • 182. energy
  • 183. and you WILL effect change if you
  • 184. believe it
  • 185. are authentic
  • 186. persistent
  • 187. and live it
  • 188. learn to see
  • 189. The real voyage of discovery consists not in making new landscapes but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust
  • 190. yourself
  • 191. others
  • 192. the whole system
  • 193. seek to understand
  • 194. the language that binds you
  • 195. how the situation occurs to you & others
  • 196. stories you tell yourself
  • 197. stories you tell others
  • 198. stories you tell ABOUT others
  • 199. EMBRACE the dark side
  • 200. not being picked a captain of the school patrol
  • 201. boss from hell
  • 202. discovering I’m not a key employee
  • 203. start telling stories
  • 204. be yourself
  • 205. with passion
  • 206. using stories
  • 207. to effect change
  • 208. in yourself
  • 209. your organization
  • 210. your community
  • 211. the world
  • 212. because it’s all invented