How Stories Work
Using stories for influence and change

!
presented by

Linda Ferguson, Ph.D.

NLP Canada Training Inc.
What is a story?
A story is
a relationship between the teller, the listener and the story

an experience of discovery or conflict 

a way of...
A calibration game
a time you were expecting something

a time you were anticipating something

a time you were surprised
...
The tale is a lie.
What it tells is the truth.
quoted in The Dreamer Awakes
The Liar’s Contest

!6
A coaching exercise
Have your partner identify a public story or a fictional story that
has some kind of resonance for them...
How can we know the
dancer from the dance?
W. B. Yeats
All stories cause listeners and
tellers to move together through
a series of states that are both
shared and complementary...
Work in a group of 3 or 4
Take turns telling a story about an adventure or discovery that did
not happen to the teller. Yo...
All stories reveal truth through
the ways that states are
engaged and shifted as teller
and listeners move through
uncerta...
A calibration game
a time someone explained something to you

a time someone told you a story

a time someone asked you fo...
I was born and raised in a
briar patch.
Brer Rabbit
Stuck or Unstuck? We want
to get unstuck so that we can
get stuck in a better place.

!14
Choose a story to tell
Work in a group of 3. Each member of the group will learn a story
to tell. All the stories are folk...
Make a map of events and states
• Make a map of events in the story using words, icons or pictures.

• Consider the story ...
Listening practice
Now it’s time to tell the stories. One person is the teller.

‣ Listener A is listening to the story. M...
Trust the tale and not
the teller.
D. H. Lawrence
Coaching through stories
• Is the thing you want to work on a relationship, something you
want to do or something you want...
Whose story are you hearing?

!20
How do you know?
There is only one criterion that matters whatever technique you
use for influence: are you getting the res...
After the story is told
• Check for engagement.

• Check for rapport.

• Check for permission.

• Ask the question: what e...
Feed your mind on stories.
the Toronto Storytelling Fesitval
The truth about stories is
that’s all we are.
Thomas King

!24
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How Stories Work: Using Stories for Change and Influence

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The next evolution in NLP (neurolinguistic programming) is a more precise awareness of how storytelling and story listening work in change and influence. Whether you are a coach, trainer, or sales professional, this course will allow you to use stories to get results.

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How Stories Work: Using Stories for Change and Influence

  1. 1. How Stories Work Using stories for influence and change ! presented by Linda Ferguson, Ph.D. NLP Canada Training Inc.
  2. 2. What is a story?
  3. 3. A story is a relationship between the teller, the listener and the story an experience of discovery or conflict a way of dissociating from pain for the purpose of giving it meaning a way to make a suggestion without encountering resistance a lie or a paradox !3
  4. 4. A calibration game a time you were expecting something a time you were anticipating something a time you were surprised !4
  5. 5. The tale is a lie. What it tells is the truth. quoted in The Dreamer Awakes
  6. 6. The Liar’s Contest !6
  7. 7. A coaching exercise Have your partner identify a public story or a fictional story that has some kind of resonance for them. Perhaps they like this story or perhaps it has just captured their attention. Discover what is true about: ‣ the events in the story ‣ the characters in the story ‣ the relationships in the story ‣ the outcomes in the story !7
  8. 8. How can we know the dancer from the dance? W. B. Yeats
  9. 9. All stories cause listeners and tellers to move together through a series of states that are both shared and complementary. !9
  10. 10. Work in a group of 3 or 4 Take turns telling a story about an adventure or discovery that did not happen to the teller. You could tell a fairy tale, a story about a public figure, or a story about a sporting event that you watched (not one that you played). One listener will choose labels for different states that are evoked by the story. Make a map of the story as it leads from one state to another and use a few words to link the states to events. Another listener will observe the movement of states in the teller, noticing when the teller is paying more attention to the story and when the teller is paying more attention to the listener. Make a map of the story as it is a relationship unfolding between teller and listeners. !10
  11. 11. All stories reveal truth through the ways that states are engaged and shifted as teller and listeners move through uncertainty. !11
  12. 12. A calibration game a time someone explained something to you a time someone told you a story a time someone asked you for help !12
  13. 13. I was born and raised in a briar patch. Brer Rabbit
  14. 14. Stuck or Unstuck? We want to get unstuck so that we can get stuck in a better place. !14
  15. 15. Choose a story to tell Work in a group of 3. Each member of the group will learn a story to tell. All the stories are folktales about getting stuck, and all seem to have a common root somewhere. Decide who will learn which story. ‣ Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree ‣ Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby ‣ Anansi and the Talking Melon !15
  16. 16. Make a map of events and states • Make a map of events in the story using words, icons or pictures. • Consider the story from the point of view of the main character Label the state of the character at different points in the story and use up or down arrows to show whether the character is becoming more or less resourceful. • Consider the events from the point of view of other characters in the story. Where are they more or less resourceful? • Mark places on the map where the setting changes. Label the states that evoked by the setting. • Consider the story as a listener. How does the listener’s state change as the story unfolds? Where are the points of most engagement? !16
  17. 17. Listening practice Now it’s time to tell the stories. One person is the teller. ‣ Listener A is listening to the story. Make a map of events. Where are there details? Where are there gaps? ‣ Listener B is listening to the teller. Where is the teller’s attention: with the listeners or with the story? Map changes in engagement and attention. ‣ After the story, compare notes on where there was lots of sensory detail, where there was the most emotional connection, and where there were the most resources. ‣ Repeat until everyone has played all three roles. !17
  18. 18. Trust the tale and not the teller. D. H. Lawrence
  19. 19. Coaching through stories • Is the thing you want to work on a relationship, something you want to do or something you want to stop doing? • Would you like to begin by telling me a story or by listening to a story? • If the client wants to listen, choose the story that comes to mind. It could be a story from your own life, from public life, or from folktales or urban legends. • If the client wants to tell you a story, listen. Pay attention to framing, setting, and your sensory experience as the story is told • Make the frame bigger and the problem smaller. You can do this by asking what comes before or after, by paying attention to the setting, or by asking for more details about resources. !19
  20. 20. Whose story are you hearing? !20
  21. 21. How do you know? There is only one criterion that matters whatever technique you use for influence: are you getting the result you wanted? Stories combine conscious and unconscious processes so fluidly that even expert storytellers do not pretend to have consciously mastered the stories they tell. When you are using a story to coach, to teach, or to sell, you need to check in with your results. If you’re getting what you want, you are paying attention to the right story. Influence requires that you know what you want. !21
  22. 22. After the story is told • Check for engagement. • Check for rapport. • Check for permission. • Ask the question: what else do you need? • Stabilize your progress and future pace your results. !22
  23. 23. Feed your mind on stories. the Toronto Storytelling Fesitval
  24. 24. The truth about stories is that’s all we are. Thomas King !24

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