I remember sitting waiting for our history lesson to start, but our normal teacher didn't appear. Instead we got a relief teacher, straight out of university by the looks of him.
I remember his unkempt hair and relaxed dress style.
"I want you to take your text books out", he said, predictably.
"groan", was our collective response.
"....and I want you to sit on them".
We didn't see that coming.
"Today we are going to be looking at the Battle of ... "
"But how are we going to do that if we're sitting on our books, sir ?...", a boy interrupted.
By this time, the teacher had our attention.
And we became even more wide eyed and incredulous when he divided the class into two, drew a battle line in chalk on the floor, and made us defend our positions.
Did we learn anything that day? Can I remember that lesson, years down the track? Did we get good marks on the assessment that followed?
That teacher knew that how we learn and retain information isn't always by listening to someone drone on and on and on.
It is through the art of storytelling.
By making us participate in the story of the battle right there in the classroom, we became active listeners.
We engaged with each other and our "leader" in this case, the teacher.
Ad David Kold would describe, years later, we learn by feeling, thinking, watching and doing.
"Tell me, and I will forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me, and I will understand.
~ Confucius C.440 BC"
How engaged would your stakeholders be if you found a way of telling them a story they could participate in? Would they be more engaged with the outcome if given a chance to participate? Would they be willing to share ideas if they could contribute to the story in a relaxed environment and away from the conference room or bored (sic) room?