Stories have long been used to convey wisdom, impart warnings, and entertain.
They can also be powerfully persuasive.
I used to work for this company, and every Wednesday morning we had these meetings. Like other meetings, they didn’t really contain any information that couldn’t have been sent out via memo.
I got the suspicion that our supervisor only had the meetings so she could demonstrate her authority.
(I’m sure you’ve worked with people like this.)
Anyhow, one meeting, a couple minutes before we started, while we were waiting for the others to show up, I related a story about another company I’d worked for before. And that company too had a supervisor (female) that had weekly meetings, that didn’t really have any use other than to “remind” us that she was in charge.
Without thinking, I started telling a story about those “previous” meetings, and brought up how useless everybody thought they were at the “previous” company.
Now, at the time, I was just running my mouth, I didn’t realize the power of what I was doing.
Which was what?
I was telling the then current supervisor, through a metaphor with other characters at another company, that her meetings were a waste of time, and everybody (except her) knew it.
I wasn’t being malicious or trying to “slam her” or anything like that. I was merely relaying a story that the current situation reminded me of.
But guess what? That was the last meeting we ever had.
Not only that, but the supervisor seemed not to be bothered by it. In fact, she fully acted as if stopping our weekly meetings was her idea.
Now, if I’d told her directly (and especially in front of everybody else) that her meetings were a waste of time, she would likely have been offended, hurt and angry.
But since I (unwittingly) cloaked my opinion within a story, she got the message, loud and clear, and thought it was her idea.
Moral of the story is that if you REALLY want to get your point across, tell a story.