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Risk Communication Through Storytelling

SERIES ARTICLE

Risk Doctor Briefing

By Joachim Adebayo Adenusi, CFIRM

The Risk Doctor Partnership

UK and Nigeria


Albert Einstein is reported as saying “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” A lot of our risk communication is very logical but not very imaginative. Experience shows that people listen better if the message is presented attractively, and storytelling is one powerful way to achieve that goal. An expressively-told story grabs the attention of the listener and creates vivid images in their minds which aid understanding and retention of the underlying message, especially when we’re dealing with concepts of uncertainty and risk.

What makes storytelling unique as a communication method?

  • Stories translate difficult concepts into a concrete form that can be handed down verbally or in written form, helping to shape and preserve culture.
  • Storytelling is interactive and flexible, causing the listeners to engage with the story and the storyteller.
  • A strong connection is formed between the storyteller and the listener, allowing the message to penetrate to the listener’s subconscious mind.
  • Stories engage reluctant or unbelieving listeners who would not listen to the same message if it was communicated in a more traditional form.
  • A well-told story stimulates creative thinking, and allows listeners to use their own imagination to put themselves in the story.
  • Hearing a story together creates a positive group identity.

The use of stories to communicate key messages has been part of the African heritage for many years. In pre-colonial times, many villages faced huge challenges that could only be overcome by careful planning and strong leadership. For example, when facing enemy invasion, the community leader would develop a detailed plan to defend the village and defeat the invaders. But then he had to encourage and motivate the community to implement the plan.

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About the Author

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Joachim Adenusi, CFIRM, ACII, MSc

Nigeria & UK

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Joachim Adebayo Adenusi
is an expert risk management consultant and an Associate with The Risk Doctor Partnership (www.risk-doctor.com), offering specialist risk management consultancy and training. He is Director of Inspirational Risk Management Services Limited, a risk management business based in the UK, providing a wide range of risk consultancy, training and audit services. He is also Director of Conrad Clark, a risk consultancy with businesses in both the UK and Nigeria.

Joachim is a passionate and inspirational risk professional with over 22 years’ work experience across different sectors. He is a keen promoter of performance-based Enterprise Risk Management, and he has developed a unique approach to ERM based on these principles.

Joachim currently advises major UK financial services and underwriters on implementing and embedding Basel ll and Solvency II requirements. His main focus is on adding value to organisations and demonstrating efficiency, savings, performance improvement, profitability and waste reduction through effective management of risk.

Joachim won the UK Public Sector Risk Manager of the Year award in 2009-10, and was highly commended in the European Strategic Management Awards in 2007 and 2008. He is a risk certified trainer and a chartered insurer (ACII), and a Chartered Fellow (CFIRM) and former Director of the UK Institute of Risk Management (IRM).

He is also the founder and chairman of the Nigerian Risk Awards, which exists to promote and recognise excellence in risk management in Nigeria. The awards have been running successfully since 2013, with categories across all major sectors, and they have gained a reputation as a highlight of the risk calendar in the country.

Email: [email protected]