On a remote Philippines beach, 200 miles from Manila, Daniel sat listening to an epic tale of the battle between the sun and the moon for dominance of the skies.

The leader of the Agta tribe transfixed all those around as the story reached its climax and they nodded, understanding, at the moral of the story.

Daniel and his colleagues had listened to the tribe’s stories – all 169 of them, and embarked on their own epic quest of discovery.

Epic might be a stretch.

Downright nerdy would be closer to the facts. You see Denis was a university researcher.

He and his colleagues listened to these stories, categorized them in a huge table, and as they did it Daniel rated the storytellers, and also got the other listeners to do the same.

Not directly though. They asked other tribe members who they wanted partner with, like the setup for some monumental jungle-based wife-swapping reality show.

When they ran the numbers, they were astonished.

For a tribe who lives by hunting and foraging wild foods. The abilities to spear a pig or find the ripest fruits weren’t the skills of the top-rated tribe members.

Instead, it was storytelling.

Great storytelling ranked higher than hunting, fishing, tuber gathering, medicinal knowledge and camp influence.

In a large group, it’s not the ability to find food that’s a high-leverage skill. It’s the ability to educate others on how to act together that grows the strength of the tribe.

The ability to use stories to teach and guide others to action is a foundational skill that, bizarrely, academics rarely have.

(Need proof? try reading the original study that I got this story from. It’ll make your eyelids weigh five-pounds each: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-017-02036-8)

There’s a quick way to learn this skill and put it into practice.

Course of Action teaches you the types of stories you can use to engage and motivate your training clients, and exactly where to use them.

Get it here.

Stephen Pratley
Copy & Conversion Consultant
The Conversion Co.

c/o The Conversion Co., 2a The High Street, Thames Ditton, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom
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