Last night, I went with my son to see Lincoln, the new Speilberg movie. It was excellent and I highly recommend it. In it, it showed something that relates to working with kids (and adults for that matter).
The movie covers Lincoln’s method of pushing forward the 13th amendment in the House of Representatives which is the one that frees the slaves. As you can image it was a very cantankerous time. The civil war had been going on for four years and a lot of Representatives had many reasons for not wanting to free the slaves. To pass, the bill had to have a 2/3’s majority so you can imagine how hard that would be to get.
One of Lincoln’s methods for persuading people to come to his side was to tell stories. He would tell a story with a metaphor. You could see the actors faces as they got tranced into the story. And then you realized that you were getting hypnotized by the story as well.
Telling a story works great for getting your point across. I think for a few reasons…
1. It non-threatening. If you tell someone to do something, there is an inherent threat or command. By telling a story, the threat is reduced or even eliminated.
2. It is easy to put yourself into the story. When you hear the story, you can imagine that you are there. You have already made the change or action that is required.
3. The story can evoke all the senses. The story can become a lifelike movie in the listeners head. This makes it even more real and easy to start to believe in.
When I have done the best job with my athletes it has always come from a story. When I’ve resorted to the easy and quick method “do what I say or else”, I don’t get the same response. S
Kids love stories and using their imagination.
Try some stories with your kids or team and see how it works.