As anyone who has attended training courses which I deliver will know, I use stories and anecdotes all through my training. I believe that these help people to learn. Most of my stories are well rehearsed and their place in the training is well thought out. Someone recently called them parables. I am uncomfortable with that word because of the religious connection but it probably fairly sums up many of the tales.

Some of the stories are real, some are based on fact and some are complete fiction but, I beleieve, reinforce the training message. All are meant to teach and to entertain. That is why I sometimes describe myself as an Infotainer

I have just bought a new (to me) book called My Voice Will Go With You. The book is edited by Sidney Rosen and is a collection of a few of the stories told by Milton H. Erickson who was probably the most innovative and powerful hypnotherapist ever. I love Erickson’s style and never cease to be amazed by the subtle way he weaves messages and hypnotic commands into his tales. At the age of 17 he contracted polio for the first time and overheard a conversation between his mother, the local doctor and two specialists called in from Chicago. He heard one of them tell his mother, “The boy will be dead by morning.” He describes himself as outraged that a doctor would tell a mother that about her son. When his mother came into his room she remained straight-faced and he never told her what he had overheard. He did, however, persuade her to shift a dresser which blocked his view of the window so that he would see one more sunset before he died. He saw only half of the sunset because he lapsed into a coma which lasted for three days and which, fortunately for him and for us, he survived. Rosen believes that the message of the story is that we are lucky to be alive. I agree. The alternative holds no appeal whatsoever.

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