Will Story Time Get Your Students’ Attention?

A recent Harvard Business Publishing article highlights “Educators’ Most Effective Attention-Grabbing Techniques.” The author describes how “compelling teachers move beyond presenting to storytelling.” I learned long ago that students like to hear stories. That is why case studies work so well. That is why we start each chapter in Essentials of Marketing with a case study (story) that describes a company and how it applies the key concepts later covered in that chapter. And why we have another 45 case studies at the end of the textbook.

This article suggests some keys to effective storytelling, including: 1) crafting the narrative, 2) using pictures (it is pretty easy, and legal by fair use standards) to find pictures on the web to put into your slides, 3) humanize the story (include real people), 4) add the element of surprise, and 5) rehearse out loud.

Looking for stories. Here are a few ideas. Check out articles and case studies posted here on Teach the 4 Ps. I am trying to start writing a few more current case studies, this one on Stanley tumblers might resonate with your students. If you use Essentials of Marketing, check out our YouTube PowerPoints — particularly those labeled “Case Studies.” These videos are pre-packaged stories which can be shown in class or assigned to your students. I have also “dramatized” Essentials of Marketing chapter openers by walking students through those stories while clicking through a series of relevant images and by demonstrating clear links to the chapter (or day’s) lecture content.

Try adding more stories to your class.

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