Critical Thinking Training Through Storytelling

How many stories did you tell today?  One?  Two?  Twenty?

How many stories did you hear?  Can you remember the image you had in your mind when you heard the story?  Could you envision what the characters looked like even if you’ve never met them?

Have you ever met someone and thought “Oh, that’s not what I thought she’d look like”?

We are natural storytellers.  We also naturally create a mental image to go along with the stories we hear or read.  Those mental images stick with us and help us remember the details of the story long term.

And that is why training through storytelling is so effective.

Tell me 10 facts and I may not remember them.  Tell me 10 stories about how those facts made an impact on your life and I will remember them forever.

A great example of successful storytelling in a training context is the FISH Philosophy.  Tell me it’s important to have fun at work, and I’ll roll my eyes at you.  SHOW me a real story of how working in a stinky fish market can be made fun, entertaining, and improve the customer experience, and I’ll remember it for years (for me it has been 11 years to be exact).

Storytelling can be particularly effective in critical thinking training too.  Some people shy away from critical thinking training because it doesn’t sound fun.  It sounds academic and philosophical.  It doesn’t have to be.

By starting with an engaging story of effective thinking, you can create a mental image of how critical thinking works.  Learners can connect with the characters and envision how they would have handled a similar situation.

That’s what Pearson TalentLens is doing with their new half-day training program THINK Now!  Learners start by reading the Now You’re Thinking! book to connect with a heartwarming, heroic story of phenomenal thinking, problem solving and decision making.  Then they take the My Thinking Styles assessment so they can learn which of the 7 Powerful Thinking Styles is their natural approach to thinking.

Next, the trainer connects the story of how Marines saved the life of a 2-year old girl to the 5 Steps to New Thinking and the Thinking Styles.  To create an even stronger mental connection between the critical thinking model and the real-life story described in the Now You’re Thinking! book, the trainer shows video interviews of the Marines involved in saving Amenah’s life.

Participants walk away from the training with a strong understanding of a critical thinking model AND a real life example of how the use of that model has been successful in the past.  Additionally, when they recall the individual differences of each thinking style, they will remember a character from the story that embodied the characteristics of that style.

It is that meaningful connection and mental image that will reinforce the lessons learned for months and years to come.   Try telling a story with a life lesson today and see how long your employees remember it.  You will be amazed by the results.

How do you train critical thinking in your organization?

Now You’re Thinking! is FREE Right Now for Kindle

Has the book Now You’re Thinking! been on your shopping list for a while, but you just haven’t had time to hit the book store?  Well, you’re in luck.  Right now the Kindle version is FREE on Amazon.  Click here to go to the Amazon Kindle Store.  We don’t know how long the book will be free, so go download it now.

Right now Now You’re Thinking! ranked #178 of all books in the Free Kindle store, #1 in Human Resources and Personnel Management, and #1 in Office Skills.

Remember, you don’t have to have a Kindle to read an eBook, you can always use the Kindle app for your iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac or Android device.


About the Book

Living the good life and want to make it great? Desperate to give your career an “extreme makeover”? Either way, the changes you want start inside your own head, with the way you think.

This book is the blueprint you need to build greater success by teaching you breakthrough techniques for thinking far more effectively. That’s the secret of making better decisions: whether you’re working toward a promotion or considering refinancing your house. Some thinking processes simply work better than others, and this book teaches you the ones that are proven to work best.

The authors start with the extraordinary true story of Amenah, just two years old, dying in an Iraqi village and in desperate need of complicated open-heart surgery unavailable in her own country. The authors reveal the extraordinary thinking and courage that saved her life and show how you can use the same approaches to transform every aspect of yours.


About the Authors

Judy Chartrand is a recognized thought leader in the areas of critical thinking and career development. Chartrand works as a consulting Chief Scientist with Pearson. As a psychologist, Chartrand has helped hundreds of clients increase their personal and career satisfaction. She frequently speaks at national and international conferences and has published more than 50 articles and books. Chartrand lives in Minnesota and has two grown children.

Stewart Emery is coauthor of the international bestsellers Success Built to Last and Do You Matter?: How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company. He has a lifetime of experience as an entrepreneur, creative director, corporate culture consultant, and executive coach. He has led workshops and seminars and delivered keynotes all over the world.

Russ Hall is author of fourteen books and coauthor of numerous other books. He has also had short stories, essays, and articles published in a wide array of media and has received several awards.

Heather Ishikawa is the National Sales Director for Pearson TalentLens. Ishikawa has extensive experience in architecting corporatewide, assessment-based leadership development initiatives. Ishikawa has delivered workshops to hundreds of leaders on the topics of critical thinking, leadership, teambuilding, communication, and change management. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

John Maketa is the Director of Strategic Partnerships for Pearson TalentLens. Maketa is a dynamic leader in enterprise growth, developing bold and creative strategic alliances that catapult global performance and profit. Maketa is known throughout the learning and development industry as a major connector who is able to strategically align initiatives for parties on both sides of the table with unparalleled financial and professional success. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and son.


Have you read Now You’re Thinking?  Be sure to write a review on Amazon.  We’d love to hear what you think of the book.

New Webinar: Understand Your Thinking Style to Unlock Better Critical Thinking

Unlock the Combination to Better Thinking With My Thinking Styles™

May 23, 2012 at 3:00 PM Eastern

HCI and Pearson TalentLens have joined forces to give you an exciting development opportunity, free of charge!

We all use a variety of thinking styles in our daily lives, but we tend to favor some but rarely use others—and that hurts our ability to make good decisions. My Thinking Styles™ from Pearson TalentLens helps you find the right balance, so you can make the best choices, in life and at work.

The Seven Powerful Thinking Styles:

  1. Analytical
  2. Inquisitive
  3. Insightful
  4. Open-Minded
  5. Systematic
  6. Timely
  7. Truth Seeking

Knowing your preferred style will help you approach problems and decisions with the right mindset so you can be more successful.

Between now and May 23rd, we’re giving HCI users access to a complimentary administration of My Thinking Styles and a personalized Development Report. Then on May 23rd at 3:00 EST, Dr. Judy Chartrand will give a brief overview of the seven styles and she’ll help you interpret your results. Your report will unlock a unique combination that will help you be more successful with your decisions, relationships, projects, and every aspect of your life – so don’t miss out!

To take My Thinking Styles and receive your report, complete these steps:

1. Go to:

2. Fill out registration information: First Name, Last Name, Email, Login ID and Password

You’ll receive two emails:

* Test Registration – Information on what to do if they lose your connection
* Account Registration – Account registration information (login info and link to view your report)

3. Fill out demographics section and complete the My Thinking Styles Assessment.

4. Once you’ve completed taking the assessment go to, then enter your login information (if you don’t remember your login information check your email account for the account registration email).

5. Once logged on, select the Results menu to view your report.

Please Note:

* Please print out your report and bring it to the HCI Webcast session on May 23rd.
* My Thinking Styles takes about 10-15 minutes to complete.
* Supported browsers include: IE7> and Firefox 3>

If you have any questions, contact



Wednesday, May 23 2012 3:00pm EDT


Thursday, May 24 2012 7:00pm EDT

Thursday, May 24 2012 11:00pm EDT

Friday, May 25 2012 3:00am EDT

Friday, May 25 2012 7:00am EDT

Friday, May 25 2012 11:00am EDT


Judy Chartrand helps people develop their careers and their lives through better critical thinking. As a consulting Chief Scientist with Pearson she works extensively with corporate clients, helping them develop employee competencies and leadership skills. A recognized thought leader, she has spoken at over 50 national and international conferences and written over 40 articles and two books. She received an Early Career Award from the American Psychological Association for her work in the career development field. Judy received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Judy Chartrand
Consultant Chief Scientist
Pearson TalentLens



Meet the Authors of Now You’re Thinking! at ASTD #astd2012

Next week the authors of Now You’re Thinking! (an Bestseller) will be at the American Society for Training & Development’s International conference in Denver.

Judy Chartrand, Heather Ishikawa and John Maketa will be in Pearson TalentLens‘ booth (#1134) signing books and taking pictures with attendees.  Be sure to stop by and get a FREE copy of Now You’re Thinking!

We will also hold a drawing in the booth and 5 randomly chosen individuals will receive a 1-year license to the Critical Thinking University (TalentLens’ first online learning portal for critical thinking training).

Finally, we will be giving away a FREE copy of the 2011/2012 Trends in Executive Development Report (a $135 value) to everyone who attends Bonnie Hagemann’s session on Wednesday, May 9th from 8:00am-9:15am in room Four Seasons 2/3.

There are so many things to look forward to at ASTD 2012.  What are you most excited about?

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