How stories help us adapt

by | Jan 11, 2023 | Change Management

We’ve all heard “stories sell”, but stories do more than connect us to our next set of wheels or a new pair of shoes we didn’t need.

Our brain processes information much better if the information is shared as a story. Stories tap into our feelings and as we are emotional beings, our behaviour and decision making is heavily influenced by how we feel.

Stories also help us make sense of the world and in this context it helps us to make sense of change and uncertainty and why it is necessary.

Have you ever recalled a story in quite some detail a perfect stranger told you, but you forgot the person’s name, when you heard the story or even where you met them?

The following are my top five benefits of using stories to help people adapt during times of change:

Relatable – stories bring concepts and facts to life in a way that is more relatable and understandable. It helps to make sense of the change, why it is beneficial and serves a greater purpose.
Simplifies the complex – stories help break down complex concepts and strips out jargon that in essence won’t help people understand and adapt to the changes required.
Easy to remember – stories trigger emotions and our brains are simply wired for stories and therefore make it easier for our brain to remember new information as opposed to presenting it as rational fact based information.
Drives behaviour change – combining relatability, simplicity and triggering our human emotion, stories will motivate people to take action.
Reduces anxiety and stress – as we share stories about change, it reduces the need for people to make up their own stories as our brain is trying to fill in the gaps in information and protect us by making up negative stories in our minds about change.

If we can share more stories as part of introducing change, we bond with each other over those stories and the feelings it generates, which optimises transparent communication, trust and teamwork, which is the best environment in which change can succeed and everyone involved thrives.

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