Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact

Annette Simmons

Annette Simmons

Annette Simmons asserts that the power of stories derives from stimulating feelings and focusing these sentiments on a goal or action in her book, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact

Nancy Duarte

Nancy Duarte

Nancy Duarte, who designed Al Gore’s original Inconvenient Truth slides, concurs in her most recent book, Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences 

George Lakoff

George Lakoff

UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff, in his classic, Metaphors We Live By, contends that stories create a framework that directs and filters attention, and enables the speaker to “control the conclusions.”

Simmons suggests the following sources of stories:

1.Personal stories of your successes
2.Personal stories of failures, to demonstrate learning, and to build trust and credibility
3.Stories of mentors and other people who influenced you
4.Memorable stories from books, movies, and current events that influenced you.



She referred to Aristotle‘s premise that the best stories contain knowledge (logos), feeling (pathos), and credibility (ethos) when she offered guidelines for effective story-telling:

1. Describe events in a way that evokes a concrete, sensory experience, as it is the way to stimulating emotion
2. Be brief
3. Offer measurable outcomes
4. Enable the listener to similar situations, organizations
5.Solidarity, or enabling the listener to experience another person’s point-of-view

-*What practices enable you to craft influential, memorable “stories”?

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Blog: – Kathryn Welds | Curated Research and Commentary

©Kathryn Welds


2 thoughts on “Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact

  1. Patty Cogen

    Kathryn, all your posts are terrific, but this one won the top prize in my book—perhaps because it explains my own success to me…I use stories and metaphors all the time; it’s great to see that they are such a powerful tool.
    I’m in Seattle and thinking of starting a Psych-Salon for Scripps Alumnae. I don’t know where you are, but I’d love to have you as a speaker some time.
    Thanks again for your great work!!! i love unusual but practical ways to use psychology without becoming a “therapist”….
    Patty Cogen (class of 70)

    1. kathrynwelds Post author

      Thanks so much for your kind comment, Patty.
      Like you, I’m always interested in exploring surprising findings from psychological research, and practical ways to apply these insights to increase collaboration and performance.
      Stories and metaphors seem an age-old way to remember and vividly illustrate life-lessons through “observational learning.”


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