Learning & Development

Using Storytelling in Workplace Training

Chances are, when you hear the word “storytelling,” you think of something like children’s bedtime stories or even someone fabricating a story for some type of gain. But the term has other meanings, too.

workplace training
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Using the art of storytelling is actually a type of communication that can be quite effective. If you think about people who are engaging conversationalists, it’s likely because they’re good at the art of storytelling and can capture listeners’ attention.

How to Utilize Storytelling in Workplace Training

There are several ways storytelling can be utilized in workplace training. The first is to incorporate storytelling into the training itself. Storytelling can impact how well the team retains the new information because it speaks to emotions, which helps cement the information in memory. To do this, remember to first gauge who the audience is; who you’re speaking with (who the trainer is speaking with) will directly influence how a story should be crafted to have an impact. If you train trainers in-house, help them understand storytelling and how to craft their stories for their audience (while still incorporating the lesson).

This brings us to the next point: If your trainers haven’t already had training on effective storytelling, that may be a good first step.

There’s an art to the process, but it can be learned. The trainers need to understand how to craft a story that can be adapted to the audience while incorporating a lesson into the story arc. It needs to capture attention quickly, be engaging, showcase a realistic and relatable situation, and have a resolution that brings it all together and makes the lesson clear.

Storytelling can also be incorporated into e-learning processes. This is an area where video can be utilized to great advantage; through storytelling and even reenactments of specific scenarios, the lessons can be conveyed in a way that will resonate. Video can even be used for things like product or process training by showing examples through stories that are realistic and relatable.

You can also use storytelling to tell the story of the organization and its mission. This is something that can be incorporated into the onboarding process to help new employees understand more about the company and how they can contribute, which, over time, can help with employee retention. Storytelling in this context, both during the onboarding and training process and at other times, can help to both communicate and influence the company culture and goals.

This is a powerful learning tool that can be used by almost any organization. Has your organization intentionally (or unintentionally) incorporated storytelling into its learning and development programs? If yes, did you focus on trainers with natural storytelling capabilities, or did you first train them on how to utilize storytelling as part of the training process?