Mar 26, 2021
Today I am very excited to
introduce you to Dr. Michelle Auerbach. She and I met a few weeks
back by an introduction from another podcast where we had both
recently been guests, and it was clear we had a lot in common. When
we had our “getting to know you” conversation I learned that
Michelle’s work was all about the power of story (while I happened
to be working on the curriculum for my upcoming class on Creating
BEtter Presentations using behavioral economics and story for Texas
A&M University. (Register here)
During the conversation, we
touch on several concepts that have their own past episodes,
including those on the novelty and stories, nudges, framing, status
quo bias, DOSE brain chemicals, and many more.
- [00:06] In today’s episode I’m
excited to introduce you to Dr. Michelle Auerbach, author of
Resilience: The Life-Saving
Skill of Story.
- [01:59] Emotion is needed to
make decisions, and stories evoke emotions.
- [03:48] Two days ago Dr.
Auerbach defended her dissertation. (Congratulations!)
- [05:08] Story has always been
an enormous part of Michelle’s life.
- [07:14] She wanted to do change
management in an organization because it is a place where all of
the wisdom we’ve handed down shows up and helps people in their
real everyday lives.
- [09:09] Story does four really
important change tasks.
- [10:07] Story moves stuff from
your short-term memory across to your long-term memory and allows
you to hold on to information. It also allows you to see
possibilities that you wouldn’t see
- [11:40] Story is a biologically
based mechanism for getting things done well.
- [13:35] If you really focus on
one great story, it has so much power behind
- [15:16] Dopamine and Oxytocin
create prosocial behavior.
- [17:11] Hero's Journey is so
complicated and has so many steps. If you do it right, you end up
with the good stuff (but if you don’t have the time or devotion it
could be a jumbled mess).
- [18:36] Michelle shares her
three-part story structure: set the stage for what is going on,
describe the trouble, what you did about it, and the
- [20:54] Tell us what is going
on, take us on a little journey where we explore the things that we
need to know, and then tell us what you came to.
- [22:53] Story matters no matter
where you are and you can tell stories in different
- [24:19] Allowing diversity in
the ways stories are told is
- [26:03] If you are on a team
with people from more than one culture have everyone tell one of
their favorite stories from childhood.
- [27:44] Helping the audience
participate in shaping the experience will make it so they are more
invested and more likely to want to move forward (IKEA
- [28:38] If you have a very
strong why and you can bring that into the room in a very tactile
way people will spend the rest of the day leading from that
- [29:17] Melina shares about
story cubes (get your own with the link
- [31:02] It is the details that
evoke feelings that make the story work. Anything you can do to add
visuals to storytelling is a really good idea because it helps to
evoke feelings in another way.
- [33:47] To be able to use a
biological-based system for talking about it allows people to have
better conversations, be more open, and feel more grounded while
they are doing it.
- [35:11] Story listening is
important too. You can evoke good stories from people in a way that
is healing to the people telling the
- [36:54] Decision making is
impossible without feeling and stories evoke feeling. If you
need people to make a decision in the room, you
need to be telling stories along with the data you
- [38:07] Storytelling definitely
gets people over the hump of overvaluing their current state and
undervaluing the change.
- [39:03] Start by listening to
other people’s stories and hear what you like and what doesn’t work
for you. What is really possible for you?
- [40:18] Ask the three story
questions: What was going on? What did you do about it? What
- [42:23] If you say this is what
was going on, this is what I did about it, and this is what
happened to me, people wonder what would have happened for them and
start to take it in more deeply instead of saying you're supposed
to feel this way about this thing.
- [44:53] Simple and positive
nudges can have a huge impact on behavior.
- [47:05] Everybody can be a
- [50:01] Melina shares her
- [51:32] Melina’s first
book, What Your Customer
Wants and Can’t Tell You is officially on presale and available
on Amazon, Bookshop, Barnes
Book Depository, and Booktopia. Buy today and be one of the first to receive
a copy when it officially launches May 11, 2021.
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