Stories and Communities Descending Ben Cleuch, Ochil Hills, Scotland
Like walking, story-telling is an essential part of the human condition. Since earliest times, people have passed on the knowledge and traditions of their culture from one generation to the next, and one village to the next, through stories. There were storytellers in every marketplace, and fables in every family.
Descending Ben Cleuch, Ochil Hills, Scotland
And storytelling is alive and well in modern society – only “the way we tell ‘em” may have changed. Much “gossip” is story-telling. Even senior executives in the boardroom can be swayed more by a persuasive anecdote or a relevant case study than by pages of detailed analysis. Storytelling is a key technique at the heart of countless business books and presentations by management gurus. Meanwhile, stories are actively used by many charities to explain the work they do to potential supporters in human terms.
These people are recognising the fundamental importance of stories – we like telling them, we enjoy listening to them, and we often pick up key messages much better from stories than we do from other types of communication.
To be most effective in passing on knowledge, stories need to relate to the interests and concerns of listeners. They are more convincing if the storyteller is speaking from personal experience – and has something in common with the audience. Stories are therefore extremely powerful for sharing knowledge within communities of all types.
Many organisations have recognised this, and encourage sharing of work-based stories both formally and informally to transfer valuable knowledge held by workers in their heads. It's the social side of the new discipline of knowledge management.
And this is why this website is built around storytelling. It can help us to get a real understanding of the nature of a walk, what it meant to other walkers, what were the really challenging aspects and the really fun bits. What was the story behind that photograph? Why did a particular viewpoint mean so much to someone? This can help us to appreciate the practical details, the personal insights and the sublime moments that are seldom covered in guidebooks. It can enable us to get even more pleasure from our walking and to savour new walking experiences.