Friday, October 17, 2008

To Get Through, Tell Stories

Here's snippet #5 of my article 7 Ways to Get Through to Your People from the September 2008 issue of Pentecostal Messenger:

5. Tell Stories

I remember seeing a district talent competition where a drama team forgot their lines halfway through their performance. They stopped cold, the curtain closed, and the judges marked the score sheets. But the audience would not be satisfied until the team was allowed to come back and redo their performance. Why? Just to know how the story ended!

I recently bought a Cinnabon cinnamon roll at our local mall. I carried the gooey softball-sized pastry to a café table, where my wife, son, and two other friends divided it up five ways. I loaded a fork with a bit of the soft insides, picked up a little of the brown sugar/cinnamon goo, and just as I brought the fork to my mouth...

Do you want to know what happened next? Why? Because stories, even ones as mundane as this, create interest.

Let me ask something else. Could you imagine the smell of cinnamon? Could you imagine the taste? Could you picture five people around a café table? Could you see the fork headed for my mouth?

Stories are multi-sensory by default. The areas of the brain that handle the senses (sight, sound, smell) kick in and embellish the story. This allows a good story to adhere in one's memory better than facts, figures or principles alone.

Note: If you don't already receive Pentecostal Messenger and you'd like to, the Pentecostal Church of God is offering free subscriptions for the remaining 2008 issues. For details, go to

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