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Can Storytelling Support Crisis Communication?

There is a movement within the emergency management field that believes we need stories and that they can help support our attempts to communicate during a crisis or emergency. Studies are beginning to show a story's value in a crisis and its persuasive effects. Over the last 20 years, a serious study of how story affects the human mind have been undertaken. Repeatedly, these studies show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are influenced by story; In fact, stories seem to be more effective at changing beliefs than writing that is specifically designed to persuade through argument and evidence.[1]

We think in stories and not in lists or bullet points, yet this is how information is shared during an emergency. We need to move away from techniques that shown to be less useful than others, and focus on ones that are scientifically proven effective.

Stories show us where we come from, and where we are heading. Storytelling is how we make meaning out of the chaos of human existence. It provides our lives a beginning, middle, and an end, and we can feel like we have meant something, and left our mark on the world. This is why we create stories, and this is why we need storytellers.[2]



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