The power of storytelling

Blog by Senior Communications Consultant, Shae Skellern

Recently I tuned into a webinar with New Zealand TV journalist, keynote speaker and mental health advocate, Jehan Casinader, alongside Sir John Kirwan.

It was an open and vulnerable conversation where Jehan spoke about – amongst other things – how storytelling can bring people together, in a world that’s filled with conflict.

Jehan spoke about how – through his job as a journalist – he’d interviewed hundreds of people during the highest of highs in their lives, as well as the lowest of lows. He spoke of compassion, empathy and the importance, for him, to balance these to protect his own mental health.

When reflecting on the webinar, I thought about my own journalism training and the reasons why I decided to become a journalist more than 20 years ago. That, for me, was having the chance to communicate with empathy, authenticity and conviction, and to make an impact through good storytelling.

So, it got me thinking, what really makes storytelling so powerful?

As a mum of two young children, I can see how the love of a good yarn begins at a young age (read: untold numbers of trips to the library and endless Peppa Pig books before bed!).

Stories provide the opportunity to learn from other people’s experience and they can shape, strengthen or challenge our opinions and values. Story telling helps us to make meaning of and to understand our place in the world – for both young and old.

When we tell the story of someone’s experience, rather than just facts and figures, people are more likely to absorb the story, and that is where our connection and beliefs and values can be formed.

A real gem of a story grabs people’s attention and draws on our emotions. It has the capacity to make change, and that’s what I believe we need more of in a world that seems increasingly complicated.

At The Shine Collective we work closely with our clients to share the stories that matter. And, time after time, we’ve proved that the stories that matter are those about a person’s own experience to make our communities better places to be.

“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling,” says Jimmy Neil Smith, Director of the International Storytelling Center.

Get in touch with us for a kōrero about how we can help you share your story.