Why tell stories?

In the 70’s I heard motivational speaker, great story teller and lawyer, CavettRobertCavett Robert, speak. During the course of his prepared remarks he made a statement about lawyers. He said, “With lawyers, it isn’t that they talk a long time, as much as it is the encroachment on eternity.”

Why is that statement still stuck in my mind?

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I have begun to realize that I have a story for everything. In fact, I can’t carry on a 2 sentence conversation without alluding to a story in one of the sentences.

Are you like that?

I’ve become a little self-conscious about it because some of the most boring people I know constantly tell the same stories, over, and over, and over, and over…  Do you know some of those people?

Actually, we have a reason for resorting to stories.

To make my point I’ll defer to a higher authority.

From Matthew 13:10-15 (The Message)

‘The disciples came up and asked, “Why do you tell stories?”

‘He (Jesus) replied, “You’ve been given insight into God’s kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn’t been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight. In their present state they can stare till doomsday and not see it, listen till they’re blue in the face and not get it.”…

Later in the chapter, verse 52, Jesus goes on to explain “Then you see how every student well-trained in God’s kingdom is like the owner of a general store who can put his hands on anything you need, old or new, exactly when you need it.”

You’re in good company!

So there you have it! We tell stories because people understand stories. It’s really that simple. It’s a great way to pass along knowledge. So, the next time you’re trying to explain something and all you get is that “deer in the headlights” stare, drop back to your repertoire of stories and find one that can help your listener relate to what you’re saying.

You’ll be in good company if you do and, there is no greater feeling than seeing the “Aha” moment when your listener begins to catch on.

Just be sure to change it up a bit. Don’t use the same story over and over. You don’t want to be one of “those” people.

Say, did I tell you the one about… Oh,never mind. 😉