Bridging the gap with killer communications: the power of storytelling for building a learning culture

Paper plate, glasses, notepad, pen and pencils on the white background. Business concept. Text THE POWER OF STORYTELLING

Kerry Jary weaves a tale about story telling in L&D

An embedded learning culture – we want this, we need this! But just how do we achieve it?

In an ideal world, learning and development forms the backbone of our organisational culture, employees want to participate, they are motivated and engaged.  However, in reality, modules often become tick box exercises, we only communicate with our audience when the next training refresher is due, or worse still, we don’t communicate at all.

Stories ignite curiosity, giving rich context and going beyond barriers to intrigue and delight

As L&D professionals we are entrusted with the responsibility of cultivating environments where individuals not only absorb knowledge but also internalise it, apply it, and ultimately, transform it into meaningful action.

With organisational barriers, such as digital literacy, time-poor employees and a diverse audience base to consider, we must look at how we can create a sense of agency and enjoyment: cutting through the noise and connecting on a deeper level to bring subject matter to life and captivate attention.

Going beyond the expected 

The age-old tradition of storytelling continues to emerge as a powerful tool for embedding a thriving learning culture. It taps into our innate desire to connect with others, to share experiences, and to draw meaning from our collective journey.

Through storytelling, we have the unique ability to engage learners emotionally, intellectually, and even spiritually, forging connections that foster a learning culture. Whether through anecdotes or personal experiences, stories have the power to convey complex concepts in a manner that is relatable, memorable, and easily digestible.  Resonating with audiences and becoming a catalyst for change and transformation.

Bringing data and information into an inspiring and captivating narrative, stories help us influence and engage. They help build credibility and trust in what you’re saying, giving a clear call to action and value add for your readers. 

Applying such principles to not only our learning content but also to in to how we communicate and share that content with our learners can produce outstanding results. Creating a sense of connection that not only enhances learning outcomes but also cultivates a sense of community—a community bound together by a shared vision for growth and development.

Breathing life into more complex information or, dare I say it, less exciting subject matters, brings a connection on an emotional level. Stories ignite curiosity, giving rich context and going beyond barriers to intrigue and delight.

Let’s get sticky….

We’ve all heard of sticky learning. Those experiences that truly stay with individuals long after the learning has been completed, helping us achieve behavioural change. These principles also apply to storytelling: making your narrative memorable and ‘sticky’, so that your audience can commit key information to memory. It’s the way that information is presented and delivered that helps achieve results.

Delivering impactful and creative narrative that truly speaks to your audience is made far easier with storytelling. The ability to authentically share lived experiences and connect the audience with how the content relates to them and the wider business.

The ability to recall a story due to how it emotionally connected with you is something all learning and development professionals can tap into, and is exactly what we need as a function. Increasing impact in everyday life by looking beyond the metrics and instead focusing on retention and application.

Through the art of strategic storytelling, we share not only information but build a culture of curiosity, intrigue and connection. We weave a rich tapestry of diverse thought in a familiar context, shining a light on learning and going beyond the expected. Telling stories that reflect the culture and values of your organisation, inspiring readers by providing a journey of where you were and where you are heading with a shared goal. 

By harnessing the emotive power of narrative, we have the ability to engage, inspire, and empower learners in ways that traditional forms of communication simply cannot match. 

Kerry Jary, a woman with blonde hair in a blue suit jacket.

Kerry Jary is Learning & Development Campaigns Manager at Co-op

Kerry Jary

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