Why storytelling gets your Sustainability message across
If I had to choose the best method for communicating sustainability, my automatic first choice would be involvement (workshops, problem solving etc). But if you are need an effective broadcast method, then storytelling is the next best thing. We relate to stories in a way we can’t relate to raw facts or data.
I must admit my evidence for this came mainly from my own experiences and received wisdom, but now scientists have weighed in with proof. Some recent neuroscience research by Uri Hanson at Princeton shows that when you tell a story, brain activity of audience members starts to reflect that of the storyteller:
By simply telling a story, the [storyteller] could plant ideas, thoughts and emotions into the listeners’ brains.[Hasson] found that the more the listeners understood the story, the more their brain activity dovetailed with the speaker’s. When you listen to stories and understand them, you experience the exact same brain pattern as the person telling the story.
So the next time you are giving a talk on sustainability or writing the ‘green pages’ on your company newsletter, make sure that you tell stories – lots of them. It’s what your audience will latch onto. And that’s scientific fact.