person holding string lights on opened book

Simple story telling

As a sports and exercise scientist, you’ll be responsible for, focused on, and keen to develop your skills in influencing others. When you first start out you might have a tendency to deal in facts and figures. These can be influential, but if you’re competitive and ambitious you might like to know that synchronisation of brain waves between two people is enhanced when stories are told.

“Listeners’ brain activity was significantly correlated with speakers’ with a delay.”

Measuring speaker–listener neural coupling with functional near infrared spectroscopy

Add some storytelling to your work to increase engagement and persuasion. You don’t have to start with a grand exposition (“In a land far away, in a distant time”). Just keep it simple.

  1. What was the situation and status before? (think Luke Skywalker on the farm in Star Wars, Neo as a computer hacker in the Matrix)
  2. What was the challenge or problem? (Luke’s Aunt and Uncle are killed and he resolves to take on the Empire, Neo wakes up to the fact he is trapped in the Matrix and he takes on the agents)
  3. What was the resolution? (Luke learns the ways of the force and blows up the Death Star, Neo realises he is ‘the one’ and uses the Matrix to defeat the computer agents)

Apply this to your work in the same way. For example;

  1. When I was working with xyz team, we noticed they were tiring at the end of each half… we looked into this …
  2. We worked with them to improve food choices, making fuelling fun and a team event…
  3. We saw higher work rates in the game and more energy from the players, we even noticed more energy on the team bus…

(Top tip – make sure you use all three steps. As scientists we often just focus on what they need to do in no. 2)

Try to add some story telling in your work this week.

(If you want to dig into this area more look into Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell)