There’s knowing, and then there’s really knowing.
When someone provides you with information—say in a presentation or a report—you might know it at an intellectual level.
But when you’ve experienced it for yourself, then you really know it.
For example, I knew that Australia is really big and mainly desert. But I didn’t feel what that meant until the first time I flew from Sydney to Singapore and spent nearly five hours glancing out the window of the plane from time to time, seeing nothing underneath but brown emptiness before we reached the Indian Ocean.
Then I thought, wow, Australia really is big and mainly desert! I had an experience of it. I felt it for myself.
When you are communicating information or an idea, do you want your audience to know it, or to really get it, to feel the truth of it for themselves?
A story is a way to provide a virtual experience for your audience. Hearing a story lets them walk through someone else’s experience, and they add it to their own store of experiential knowledge.
If you want to help people understand something at more than an intellectual level, to feel the truth of an idea for themselves, don’t just provide them with information. Let them experience it.