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Supersize Your Business Storytelling Skills

19/11/19

Q: What did the Arts student say to the Engineering student?

A: Would you like fries with that?

 

And there it is, a joke loaded with all the linguistic originality you’d expect from someone who scorns the arts. 
 
Next Window Please
 
Decades of mockery towards the Humanities combined with a projected technologically-driven economic future have put STEM subjects on a pedestal in our education system. This article from the Washington Post describes the exodus of students from Arts subjects into STEM classes, a mass panic of young people desperate to avoid the dreaded McJob. A McFlurry, if you will.
 
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
 
One of the unintended consequences is the loss of storytelling skills among young people.  This isn’t just because they’re no longer exposed to the classics of literature, but because the push to STEM actively implies that that the arts are not important.  Spoiler: they’re super important. 
 
What’s The Big Deal?
 
How do we get people interested in our ideas? Narratives.
That’s because stories:

  1. Explain why things happen
  2. Give meaning to events
  3. Create emotional engagement

You may need engineers to construct your building, but first you need a compelling story to convince the community it should be built, one for the bank to get them to lend the money, and another for the boss as to why a burger restaurant needs a rooftop bar. Find more on why storytelling is important here.
 
Isn’t Storytelling Unskilled Labour?
 
Nope. Storytelling skills include:

  1. Understanding what a story is
  2. Knowing the components of a good one
  3. Structuring the elements to build to an effective climax
  4. Honing your delivery, choosing the best opportunity and the best way to tell it
  5. Knowing how to make a story relevant to your argument so that it delivers the emotional punch you need to convince your listener.

Plot Twist
 
It turns out that Arts graduates make the same money as STEM graduates in the long run, so the McJob is just a scary lie we tell our kids – a manipulative, emotionally appealing story that has worked a little too well.  Turns out there’s no clown more terrifying than Ronald.
 
Oh, the Humanities!
           
Could it be that the effort to drag young people into STEM subjects in recent years has been misguided?  Not entirely: we do face a more technically literate future, and STEM expertise will be the basis of a knowledge economy. But we still need to sell our ideas, to capture imaginations, to convince and persuade.  For that we need emotional intelligence.  The kind we learn from philosophy, literature, theatre, language. A broad and varied understanding of life and how to turn it into stories that resonate with people. You guessed it: a combo.
 
Get Fries With That
 
Upsize your skill set: we can help you find your meaningful, business relevant stories and make them work for you. That’s the takeaway! Join us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn or click here to find out more about our storytelling and presentation training. 

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