12 Mar 2018
Caterpillars moving in row

As a facilitator of ‘results focussed’ learning I’m always thinking of creative and different approaches of presenting key messages.

One of the most powerful techniques for capturing attention during workshop delivery is storytelling.

From a very early age we became captivated by stories, they entertained, educated and informed us, took us on a journey and created emotional buy-ins.

Within a workshop environment they can grab learner attention and make key points being discussed, even dry subjects more memorable.

A while ago I watched a nature documentary featuring a number of naturalists exploring deep into the Amazon jungle. Each focussed on a different aspect, plant life, mammals, environmental ecology and one with an aptitude for insects.

The keen entomologist had uncovered a long line of caterpillars marching in single file towards their goal…. juicy leaves, eating them supported the next stage of their development. He collected a number of the insects onto the lid of a jar. At first it was chaos, a mass of wriggling bodies but very quickly they organised themselves in line, head to tail and began moving around the rim of the lid forming a continuous circle. He placed a leaf from the plant they were searching for in the middle of the marching group and guess what happened next? NOTHING! Not one caterpillar broke line for a sneaky bite….they were conditioned by their environment.

That brief clip of television made me think about the learners I work with on a regular basis. How easy is it for employees to become conditioned by their environment, get into habitual ways of working and lose sight of their goals therefore never reaching the next stage of their development and leaving them feeling unfulfilled?

Think of a salesperson, travelling further afield for the next big deal yet there are plenty of potential sales within their existing territory/customer base. The manager managing their team exactly the same way week in, week out and expecting different results (insanity?)

Creating an environment for learners to reflect on their actions and discuss current approaches can encourage them to adopt new ways of working and create significant behavioural change back in the workplace.

Story telling transfers content to the learner in a unique way and the learner can gain new insights into the impact their actions have or could have on others.

If of course you are interested in finding out more about our approach to developing learning solutions, gather round and I’ll tell you a…..

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