Real Outcomes Tailored for You

Case Study

How to Leverage Storytelling to Increase Engagement at Work

Posted on , in HOW TO, by

Storytelling: how can it help engage individuals in your company?

In functional storytelling, you can leverage your communication to trigger certain hormones and neurotransmitters in your listeners—a unique and subtle way of engaging them in your story.

In this breakdown of functional storytelling, we’ll be taking advice from David JR Phillips’ fascinating and informative TEDx Talk, in which he describes how storytelling works on a chemical level.

Here are some fascinating facts about storytelling, chemicals, and the brain—and how to leverage that information in your own business.

Everyone and Everything has a Story

Human beings respond to stories—and everyone in a business has a unique story of their own to tell. By using the power of personal and unique anecdotes in a business setting, you can create unique value for colleagues, staff, and supervisors at your company. But how do you optimize storytelling to your advantage? Here are four ways to work with neurotransmitters to take advantage of functional storytelling:

1. Avoid engaging with cortisol and adrenaline: keep stress out of stories

Cortisol and adrenaline are stimulated by stress and unpleasant situations. People who have an excess of these hormones exhibit symptoms of intolerance, irritability, lack of creativity, and impaired memory.

Obviously, if you want people to engage in a useful and positive way, you want to avoid triggering cortisol and adrenaline. These are a result of people feeling like they’re under attack or under stress, which are sub-optimal conditions for learning, team-building, and engaging others.

2. Work with the power of dopamine: tell exciting stories

Dopamine is an extremely powerful chemical because it increases focus and motivation. Because people are more focused, they’re going to remember things better and be more engaged with the topic.

Dopamine is created inside the brain by elements of powerful storytelling. By building suspense, incorporating cliff-hangers, and withholding key information for powerful moments, it’s possible to trigger this effect in listeners.

3. Work with the power of oxytocin: tell human stories

The hormone oxytocin makes people more generous and trusting. It creates a bond between people and conjures feelings of warmth. In storytelling, oxytocin is triggered by human stories in which listeners are asked to conjure empathy for characters. Stories where the teller appeals to the listener’s human side and encourages them to feel for their fellow human being.

To leverage the power of oxytocin, make sure that you’re building character into your stories and engaging with your listeners on an emotional, as opposed to merely analytical, level.

4. Work with the power of endorphins: tell funny stories

First of all, everyone loves to laugh. What you might not know is that laughter is associated with increased levels of endorphins in the brain. When people experience endorphins in the brain, they’re more creative, relaxed, and at ease. It’s suddenly easier to think of solutions to problems.

Like dopamine, endorphins trigger deeper focus in the human brain. How do you tap into endorphins? Make people laugh. Tell funny stories. Engage them on a level where they’re actually enjoying and getting value out of the content.

Anyone can tell a good story. Think about it: with our range of human experiences, we all know how to tell a story with drama to stimulate dopamine production. Everyone has a character-driven story that can help trigger oxytocin. And if you’ve ever incorporated a joke into your workflow, you already know you can work with endorphins.

Next time you have a big presentation at work or need to get a point across to colleagues, leverage the power of functional storytelling.

BETTER TEAM BUILDING WITH UNIQUE TEAM BUILDING

So, what are your pain points? What do you want your team to accomplish? Tell us what your team needs to work on and we’ll provide the perfect customized solution. Best of all, we’ll do it on your time frame and within your budget! From single-day cooking challenges to multi-day hiking excursions, your employees will work together in ways they never considered and return to work ready to work better together. Contact us for information about our packages or to set up a consultation.

Andy Richards

Andy Richards

Andy is fascinated by the world and all that happens around us- from how large businesses work, through to how we can improve ourselves as individuals. He draws on experience working in eco-tourism and a degree in management, as well as from his passions for travel, photography and all things interesting. With a young mind, he likes to keep his finger on the pulse, always on the lookout for ways to help improve the world we live in, the places we work, and the lives we live.

Enquire Now

Enquire Now
Free consultation

As Seen On

Our Happy Clients

About Us

We transcend corporate barriers to create a feeling of belonging and appreciation.

Our tailored programs are unique, because we’re experts in Outdoor Education, Travel, Photography and all things fun!

Curious? For a quick, easy quote…

Testimonials

  • UDU changed our lives!  They took a bunch of lawyers under their wing and a long way out of our comfort zone, on a tailor-made weekend experience that included canoeing, trekking, climbing, swimming…

    - Michael - Sydney

  • Our team building weekend away with the UDU crew in North Sydney was an absolute fun fest. We were shown a very spectacular side of Sydney, and were thoroughly entertained by our gracious and very…

    - Nat - Melbourne

  • We just spent a wonderful weekend for our yearly team building retreat with Andy and “Dad” and I couldn’t recommend UDU more highly! From team building sessions, games, hiking, dolphin swimming…

    - Penny - Singapore

  • We had the most amazing time with UDU in the Royal National Park, thank you to Andy, Lex, Dee, Dave, Ken, ‘Dad’ and Ann. Everything was so well organised and such good fun. The food was delicious…

     

    - Laila - Ireland

  • UDU delivered in spades and worked closely with us to put together a secret programme together that would tick all the boxes. There were some fun team building exercises woven into the first day…

    - Mia - Sydney

  • Loved everything about this retreat. Andy and the rest of the guides where very lovely and knew a lot about the national park. They show you some pretty cool places and get you involved in some cool activities…

    - Jayne - Sydney

  • Andy was awesome! The food was tasty, the crew were fun and the whole experience was fantastic. I will do this again the next time I am in Sydney. Wonderful time!

     

    - Sophia - California

  • Incredible experience!!!I really enjoyed Garry’s insightful commentary, his historical and scientific anecdotes were very fascinating, on top of that he was funny! Mal the (cute) photographer was so patient with us…

    - Alice - Sydney

  • A great way to unwind, soak up the sun and the splendour of nature and explore the luscious beauty of the Australian bush. If you’re a city slicker, leave the concrete jungle for the real one, just for one day…

     

    - Fiona - Sydney

  • Fantastic experience. I would recommend this trip to everyone. Andy, Gary, Jon and Scott were wonderful. I loved sleeping on the beach and waking up to an awesome sunrise. The night photography was so much fun…

    - Steph - Brisbane

  • A really magical experience. Nothing like it, totally unique. It was very well organised and lots of fun. Loved it !!

    - Lisa - Sydney

  • Such a top night! Every entertaining evening. .the photos turned out AWEEEESOME!. 😀 go the light wars!!…

    - Deesh - Sydney

  • Brand new and exciting experience with plenty of moonlite adventures. All delivered with a frendliness and passion second to none. There was the good old fashioned story telling, plenty of good food, and…

     

    - Warren - Sydney