At 65 years of age, Colonel Sanders had retired and was broke, owned a small house and a very old car. He had a chicken recipe that everyone loved and the fact that this was the only idea he had, he decided to act upon it.
He started his travels to different US states to sell his idea. He got 1009 rejections before a business man invested in his idea. He acquired a service station in Kentucky and began serving to travellers. The location became known for its good food, and Sanders eventually got rid of the service station’s gas pump and converted the location to a full-fledged restaurant today known as KFC.
Now you are very likely to never forget the story of how KFC started, or at least, much less likely to do so than if it had been presented in bullet points.
We all enjoy a good story, whether it’s a novel, a movie or simply something one of our friends is explaining to us that they’ve experienced. But why do we feel so much more engaged when we hear a story? A simplified answer is: When we hear a story we get to experience what is being narrated, our brains and emotions are activated and present.
Story telling is for children only! Story telling is for everyone!
Story telling is a form of facilitation; a form of learning. And learning is for everyone. Some of the brightest and most creative minds found value in learning at any age. Albert Einstein said:
“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”
During the facilitation class, I was reminded of my late grandmother, who was probably the best story teller I know. My grandmother enjoyed telling stories, she was theatrical in her voice and actions; she left you utterly fascinated. Looking back at her stories, I have realized they all had a lesson to be learned. My favourite of her many stories was of the Jackal and the Hare, to summarize the story: The Hare would enter through a small hole in the Jackals fence, but the Jackal could never catch the Hare. So one day the Jackal left some food for the Hare and the Hare ate, it continued to eat even when it was full, it ate until it felt it was about to burst. And when it saw the Jackal it tried to escape through the small hole but it was too big to fit through the hole.
Hmmfffffff! Now obviously I didn’t tell that story as well as my grandmother would have. But the lesson to be learned there is that greed is bad!
So you may ask, what is there to learn from the KFC story? I personally learned that success can be achieved at any age, Colonel Sanders opened his first KFC in his late 60’s. I also learned that you should never give up, Colonel Sanders received over 1000 rejections, but look at KFC today!
Storytelling is indeed an effective learning tool. Stories are the emotional glue that connects the audience to the message. May we learn to tell stories and may we continue to learn from stories.