I’ve read many books about the values, the importance, and all the benefits of good storytelling.

I’m using stories in all my sessions for many years, with great results. Sometimes I delivered “normal” sessions that people still remember due to a good story that I used, sometimes by carefully planning for it, sometimes by luck.

Storytelling can be a powerful tool, and like every tool, people can use it to produce harm.

There’s a big difference between using stories to make details stick in the mind of the listeners, and stories used to change reality, to influence people to believe in wrong things. Stories work at a deeper level inside the brain, most of the time it’s difficult to resist their power.

How to understand if a story is used to “help” the narrative or if it’s used to influence people? I believe that the answer is in the speaker’s body language and how the speaker reacts If the value of the story is disputed. This is why sometimes it is essential to ask “difficult” questions to a speaker if something doesn’t convince us. If the speaker uses a story to help their narrative, the answer will be in line with their behavior. If the speaker uses stories to change our minds and influence us, for subtle reasons, the answer will be rough.

I know that it’s easier said than done, but it can be done if you start exercising active listening, not only to the content but even more to the context.