No matter are you a writer, a business owner or you just want to improve your presentation skills, effective storytelling is like having an ace in your sleeve that you can pull out just in time when you have to make your point or become more persuasive. In my previous posts about storytelling I discussed the power of narrative and today I shell go more deeply into how to harness that power to keep your audience active, engaged and responsive. Now, structuring your story, speech or even website content can be hard with distractions coming all over the place. In order to pass your ideas across and stuck to the memory of your audience you have to use all tricks and tools available to you. And avoid little mistakes along the way.
Here is what I mean:
Don’t begin with unattractive facts and figures (unless you are dealing with science and research, but even that kind of story we can make more compelling).
Frankly speaking, nobody cares about that! Stats are boring. We are addicted to stories, actions, emotions, adventures. Humans like a hero that’s on a journey, capable of mastering endless obstacles in order to fulfill his duty and purpose. So give your audience a hero, a story with purpose that delivers message, leaving them motivated and inspired.
One simple thing you can implement in your story telling is to incorporate the technique of a mythological narrative.
It’s a story structure that is found in many folk tales, myths, poems and religious texts from around the world.
In a mono-myth, the narrative goes like this: something happens that provokes our hero to leave his home; hero has (usually) a difficult journey ahead, where the destination and conditions are uncertain; after completing a series of challenges, hero returns with some kind of a reward, wisdom – some kind of benefit that he brings to his community.Think of Gilgamesh or Iliad. These were very long, epic and spoken word poems, that portrait the journey of a hero, all of his struggles, tragedies, misfortunes or little victories.
This is an excellent strategy when you want to accentuate the information you have and how that can benefit your audience. It also shows the pros and cons of taking risks and how we grow while learning something new.
In this article you will find three beautiful examples of using storytelling for small business purpose. The one I would like to share is about company Stio that introduced the outdoor apparel brand with a blog called The Town Hill Chronicles. The blog, by a team of professional writers, profiled people living in mountain communities across the U.S. In doing so, it helped Stio tell its brand story, how ordinary people experience outdoor life and activities (making them heroes of their brand), which eventually turned an audience into real a community that promotes and shares value of living in accordance with nature.
For the end I will leave with some thoughts by John M. Ford:
The worm drives helically through the wood
And does not know the dust left in the bore
Once made the table integral and good;
And suddenly the crystal hits the floor.
Electrons find their paths in subtle ways,
A massless eddy in a trail of smoke;
The names of lovers, light of other days
Perhaps you will not miss them. That’s the joke.
The universe winds down. That’s how it’s made.
But memory is everything to lose;
Although some of the colors have to fade,
Do not believe you’ll get the chance to choose.
Regret, by definition, comes too late;
Say what you mean. Bear witness. Iterate.