Training Industry Magazine - July/August 2018 - 9

GUEST EDITOR
JEFF MORGAN

STORYTELLING
IN TRAINING
From an early age, storytelling has
played an important part in our personal
development. Think back to your
childhood. Many of the lessons you
learned, or values you developed, were
the result of stories shared with you by
your parents or teachers. These stories
helped us understand the lessons in a
way we could relate and connect, and that
connection is what made those lessons
stick. The same concept is true of adult
learners. To make your training programs
more impactful and increase the retention
of the message, find ways to weave
storytelling into your delivery.
BE PURPOSEFUL
As you look to include storytelling,
identify which topic will resonate best
with your audience through a relatable
story. Consider how you can impact
the understanding of your audience
by sharing a story in which they can
relate, sympathize and connect. Think
of real-life examples that you can share,
which will reinforce what you want the
audience to learn and take away. Keep in
mind, it is very important that you make
sure these stories are interesting and as
succinct as possible.
I recall being in a training session when
the facilitator was discussing goal
alignment. He launched into a story
regarding his family, speaking about
the wants of his wife and children. As
he progressed, we learned about each
of their lives, challenges, hobbies,
clothing preferences, and more than I
care to include here. By the time he got
to the point, the entire audience was

confused and unsure as to the point of
the story.
Much of this rambling was due to lack
of planning. The facilitator did not
thoughtfully consider how to tell the
story to ensure the message landed. Had
the instructor taken time in advance
to think the story through, minimize
unnecessary details and practice, the
impact would have been much more
effective and better for the audience.

VULNERABILITY
ALLOWS THE
AUDIENCE TO
CONNECT TO
THE STORY.
BE VULNERABLE
The best stories you can share are those
that you have personally experienced
or witnessed. When you share, however,
do not solely tell stories about what
you have done correctly. Use too many
of those examples and you will come
across as a "know-it-all," as opposed
to an expert. In fact, the more you can
share stories where you learned a lesson
from a mistake or wrong decision, the
better the audience will relate to you
and the learning point you want to
convey. Demonstrating vulnerability
allows the audience to build an
emotional connection to the story. That
connection makes it more memorable
and, as a result, more impactful.
Leverage your facilitation tools, such

as voice inflection and modulation, to
help make this emotional connection
even stronger.
FACILITATE PARTICIPANT STORIES
Depending on the size of your audience,
look for opportunities to leverage the
experiences of your group. Have them
share their experiences as it relates to
the topic. Doing so will require very
active listening on your part to ensure
that the story stays on point. While you
do not want to shut someone down
completely, you may need to redirect
them or help draw them toward a
conclusion. Although this may test
your facilitation skills, the value of peer
stories to reinforce learning is immense.
Look for and leverage this opportunity
whenever it presents itself. You will
likely be asking others to share at first,
but as the class continues, participants
will become more willing to volunteer a
story themselves.
The best training classes are those
that are memorable and impactful. To
maximize your participants' experience,
leverage every tool in your training
delivery toolbox. Include storytelling
as a regular part of your plan. When
you plan and deliver effectively, your
audience will be more engaged with the
overall content and more likely to retain
those key learning points.
Jeff Morgan is director of learning and
development
at
Bridgestone
Retail
Operations (BSRO), a subsidiary of
Bridgestone Americas. Email Jeff.

T R A I N I N G I N DUSTR Y MA GAZ INE - TRAINING TOOLBOX 20 18 I WWW. T RAI NINGINDU S T RY . C OM/ MAGAZ I NE

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Training Industry Magazine - July/August 2018

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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20180304
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20171112
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20170910
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20170708
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_20170506
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2015outsourcing
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/trainingindustry/tiq_2015leadership
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