Using Stories to share knowledge

As part of a research project for my doctorate work I’ve been looking at the use of storytelling for knowledge sharing in project teams.  I’ve found the topic extremely interesting and perhaps even something I can find a dissertation topic out of.

While looking through my RSS Reader last week I ran across Glenn Whitfield‘s post titled ‘When thinking isn’t an option – tell a story‘ and felt a sense of deja vu….Glenn was talking about the very subject I’ve been researching.

The last two paragraphs of Glenn’s post are:

So how do you get your point across when people don’t want to think?

Just tell a story. For thousands of years, human beings have learned many life lessons from stories or fables (remember Aesop’s Fables). So why not use them to get your point across? In just a few paragraphs, you can tell someone about a problem (the issue), provide a plausible explanation (impact of the issue), and teach a lesson (the solution to the issue). Nice and neat, and everyone is satisfied. By using the facts and information you have and molding it into a story that the audience can relate to, you will have their attention, and you can make your point effectively. Yes, you will have to really think about how to put your facts into a story your audience can relate to, but remember, you want to make sure that your issue is clearly understood.

As much as we may want to get people to think more, when it’s clear your audience is not up for it, telling a story is a very effective way to get your point across and get what you want. Remember, we all like a good story.

Great introduction in the use of stories to get your point across.

Stories have been used to pass down wisdom and knowledge from the beginning of time.   Every culture has had its own stories and storytelling techniques so it makes sense that using stories to transfer and share knowledge within project teams might prove worth researching.  I’m currently researching this topic and will be working a paper that I hope to get published later this year.

In the meantime, If you’re interested in learning more about storytelling applications in knowledge management, take a look / listen to the  presentation I put together for one of my courses on the topic of storytelling and knowledge management.  You can view the PDF here or watch/listen to the quicktime presentation here. You can download the Quicktime video (in Zip format) here.

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