Story telling, when done well is a powerful way to share ideas, learn and inform and connect with people at an emotional level.

Storytelling can help you…

  • Reflect on what you are doing now and explore what could be done differently
  • Collect together, across team, geographical and professional boundaries, to gain insight and learn from each other, and to understand more about the continuum of care a patient experiences
  • Discover so much more about what is really happening, on the surface and beneath the surface
  • Look at how you make actions plans
  • Look at how you will implement what you want to do
  • Look at how you feed back to your patients, peers and the system
  • And so back to reflecting and exploring

Some people are naturally gifted story tellers, but we can all improve our story telling abilities by being aware of a few key things

Language is Important

We are very good in healthcare at using confusing or local ‘in house’ jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms and these can have the effect of excluding or silencing people who are unfamiliar with the local lingua.

So keep things simple and as universal as possible.  Positively enhance your language and your words with imagery and the use of metaphors. Using metaphors seems to transcend, or at least help, with the language barrier and the potential for things being ‘lost in translation’ between individual participants.

By describing a situation through a metaphor, we not only give it an identity but also help clarify for others exactly what we are talking about. Use a picture or imagery to describe what you want to say to help people communicate with each other in a different way

What is a Metaphor?

“Metaphors are integral to our language. It is through metaphors that we communicate. Often we are not aware of using them because we take them for granted and have begun to treat them as literal.

Metaphors have the effect of both describing and constructing our realities. By naming a situation through a metaphor, we not only give it a rich identity but also engender actions that actually create the reality. The choice of a metaphor can cast reality in a new light, get people out of thinking traps and ignite energy. The evocative imagery produces an effect that touches a chord of comprehension in individuals”

Akin G and Palmer I, (2000) Putting metaphors to work for change in organisations, Organisational Dynamics

Things to Help You

Here are some great resources we have found that can help you develop your story telling skills and how they can relate to working safely:


‘TED TALKS – the official TED guide to public speaking’ by Chris Andersonn
This book explains how powerful public speaking can be achieved and equips you with tips and techniques that can be used help you. These can also be used in every day life. team meetings, or just talking to each other.


  • ‘Let’s talk – part 1’ 
  • ‘Let’s talk – part 2




Just ask me – your question is the start of something important