July 14, 2022

Facts inform us. Stories influence us.


Facts inform us and stories influence us. Over the last few decades in business, I have known this to be true and recently I had an experience that reinforced this belief.

I have just returned from New York with my youngest daughter Jess and one of the places we visited was the 9/11 Museum. During our visit we went on a guided tour. Like all tours, you are presented with a lot of facts and figures as well as some specific stories.

Facts and Figures

While the facts and figures can be interesting at the time of hearing them, they very rarely have a lasting impact. In fact, after the tour had finished and we were left to ourselves to walk around, Jess asked me, ‘How many metres did the guide say the last column was?’. My response was, ‘I can’t remember’. Even though he had shared this information less than an hour a go.

Remembering Stories

The stories, however, I can still remember weeks later and will continue to remember.

These stories had an impact at the time because they tapped into emotion. As a result, we are more likely to remember them. This means they will continue to have an ongoing impact in the future.

Stories in Business

Over the last 30 years of my professional life, I have been involved in either leading change or helping my clients lead change. That might be leading cultural transformations with new values and purpose or digital transformations involving new technologies, processes and systems.

I have come to realise that most of these efforts fail when we focus too much on leading these changes with facts and figures rather than embracing stories which create an emotional response.

Remember that facts inform us, but stories influence us.

Magnetic Stories

Business leaders who fail to understand the power of stories was one of the major catalysts for writing my latest book Magnetic Stories. Connect with customers and engage employees with brand storytelling.

Regardless of what business you are in, you are dealing with humans. As humans we process emotion faster than logic and we store it in our long-term memory. In business, the bias towards data over emotion has been going on for too long and is a major reason why most change efforts fail.

So, when you are next trying to lead organisational change, influence an outcome, attract new employees and/or clients, or even simply present information, know that while you still need logic, it is the stories that will create impact and human connection… both in the short and long term.


P.S. I only have 18 more days available for 2022 to conduct workshops or keynotes. So, if you are thinking I could add value to your change efforts and help your leaders communicate and influence more effectively, then contact us to set up a time with me to discuss.