Harnessing the Power of Story to Promote Change: Keynote Address by Beth Black

Harnessing the Power of Story to Promote Change: Keynote Address by Beth Black

Beth Black (MSLOC 2011) gave a keynote address titled Harnessing the Power of Story to Promote Change at the 2012 Wisconsin Women's Health Summit on May 15, 2012.

Beth's session was based on her Capstone research, Once upon a Time at the Office: Learning to Recognize, Interpret and Tell Stories in Organizations, which examined current organizational storytelling practices and identified key features that characterize stories with powerful impact. Her study found that narrative is used by leaders to transfer knowledge, shape culture, and motivate or curtail employee behavior, as well as by employees to manage stress. Interviews with eight experts on narrative revealed, perhaps surprisingly, that skimping on details is what makes stories powerful.

Beth BlackBeth cites skills gained while in the MSLOC program as being important in preparing for the presentation:

"Public health professionals are earnest, passionate advocates who deserved my best effort. I'm grateful that my MSLOC experience enabled me to give them that. Giving a keynote address to over 300 professionals in a field other than my own was only possible because of the thorough preparation I received in the MSLOC program. Having been on teams with fellow students whose work backgrounds were varied, I felt confident that I would be able to share content in ways that would resonate, even though my audience would no doubt have different "mental models" about the topic. The results of the Capstone research I conducted was useful in building a framework for my speech. However, more importantly, what I learned from the process of writing the Capstone helped me be efficient as I did a month or more of additional academic research to add depth and expand on certain ideas."

Beth compiled Resources on the Power of Story for summit attendees which can be accessed via the Act3 Organizational Collaborators website. You can read more about Beth's experience in the MSLOC program in her alumni profile.

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