I’m sitting on Tauranga beach writing this and with St Patrick’s Day looming I can’t help but think about the impact that one man has had, not only on the lives of every Irish person, but also on generations of Irish people all over the world. The story of St Patrick is an interesting one and one I recommend having a quick look at. When St Patrick was converting Irish people to follow God he was called upon by the king of Ireland to explain this concept of God. Cleverly St Patrick used the shamrock, something that was common and known, to describe the unity of Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit.
Just through this simple analogy the king and all the court got it…straight away! This is the power of stories and the use of analogies to educate and influence outcomes. So why is this so important and why is it so effective?
When we use stories to describe things we engage a different part of the brain than when we defer to hard facts and logic; we engage the emotional brain. This is the seat of our beliefs, values and, of course, emotions! Time after time, research has shown that we are more heavily influenced through emotion than fact (the facts are also important – we need to back up what we’re saying). Therefore, as a leader, when you want to influence and gain follower-ship of your ideas think about how you can build your idea around a story. Remember, the strategy we create for our organisations and teams need to be able to be communicated as a story. This way people will get it quicker, relate to it easier, and remember it longer.
So the next time you have to influence a team, try and think of ways to link it to an analogy or even better, wrap a story around it (personal stories are best). Enjoy your St Patrick’s day and let the green Guinness flow!
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