Use stories to get people talking and spread your messages

 Stories are vital to communicators because they are viral. They are contagious: they want to be passed on.

Spreading a great story at Bosworth Field., site of the Battle of Bosworth see here

That is how we recognize a story. People retell it. Stories get people talking.

Putting our content onto stories codes it and helps people understand and repeat it. For people who communicate about heritage at museums and other sites, stories can give our visitors ways to talk about our places and collections. The benefits of this are three-fold:

1. Visitors want it

Shared memories is one of the key rewards that visitors seek from leisure visits, including to cultural and heritage sites. They share and create memories largely by talking. A story gives them an easily repeated way to talk about their experience that continues after the visit.

2. We, as educators, want it

We know that people remember what they think and talk about.

Professor Sam Ham’s work on what psychologists call elaboration (which is in his words ‘a fancy word for good, old-fashioned thinking’) and meaning-making in heritage interpretation shows how thinking and talking about a new experience helps us to make sense of it and fixes it in memory. Good stories that relate to our core messages mean that people will be thinking and talking about what we want them to remember.

3. We, as businesses, want it

Marketing people absolutely know the value of getting visitors to repeat your stories. They call it Word of Mouth and know it leads to new business.

A year ago, I was a keynote speaker at the Museums Australia / Interpretation Australia in Perth Western Australia. This is the third extract from my talk: you can read others here and here.

My title was Bridging experience; story as a vehicle for interpreters’.



About susancrosstelltale

Great visits to heritage and natural sites do not happen by accident. This blog is about the work that make special sites great places to visit. I hope it will be useful to visitors and host alike. Find out more at me and my blog.
This entry was posted in Attractions, Heritage attractions, Interpretation, Interpretation Australia, Interpretelling, Museums, Stories, Storytelling, Thematic interpretation, Tips and advice and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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