Power of Storytelling in technical training

Telling stories during technical training made all the difference!

I worked as a IT-instructor within programming and internet security for many years for different international companies. Got a lot of good feedback on both the training material and my own performance. We used the exact same material and my colleagues didn’t have the same success rate. For years we tried to train the trainers and implement improvements projects. Some more or some less successful. For couple of years ago I read a book about Story telling and it hit me. The reason I got the feedback I got was that I had lots of stories about real life and hypothetical scenarios. I started to work with stories and how to tell them.

Here is couple of pointers that try to keep in mind while presenting/training my sales people.

  1. Find and simplify your subject and make it interesting. Think about spicing as; stranger in a strange land, revenge, love, rags to riches, quest, evil vs. good
  2. Get the attention quickly, Skip introducing your self or the agenda. I discovered this by mistake and found that I got and held the attention longer than I used to.
  3. To get the attention explain the core of your story, There is always an internal monologue in the audiences head  “why should I care ..” You have to overcome this monologue. Describe the problem as much as you describe the solution.
  4. Outline the solution, simplicity over all else! It takes mastery and talent to explain complicated things in a simple way.
  5. Give them an action step, people in general find it easy to follow a numbered list of things
Information, Education, Entertainment;  have fun at the same time.

Couple of important attributes to work with:

  • Passion is everything, if you are not passionate about things you do, you cannot expect anything from you audience or colleges.
  • If you cannot express your idea in a twitter message , go back and re-work it!
  • Work with the big picture. I stole this story from Camine Gallo; When a primitive man ran into a Tiger, he didn’t ask, how many teeth does does the Tiger have. He asked, will it eat me? should I run? The big picture before the details.
  • Think visually

Here is a short TED talk by Richard St. John. Very interesting!


Would be interested in your comments!
In case you would like to fire off one-liners, my twitter page http://twitter.com/100010001

2 Responses to Power of Storytelling in technical training

  1. Wendy Appel April 7, 2011 at 22:02 #

    Great points Shahram! People remember stories much better than facts and figures. If people can see themselves in the story, even better. Good leaders know how to tell stories to engage and involve their organizations, but stories are useful in many arenas. I can imagine that you are a great storyteller. Keep it up!

    • Shahram April 11, 2011 at 12:26 #

      Thank you Wendy, appreciate your comments as I know you work hard within this and many other subjects.

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