I was talking recently with a colleague about the art of storytelling, and why it matters in an era when people are so inundated with all kinds of media. From our conversation I’ve come up with ten reasons why you (and your business) should be telling stories.
- Storytelling is simple – A story can be anything from a blockbuster movie to a tweet about what you had for lunch today. It’s no more complicated than giving an audience insight into something they otherwise wouldn’t know about.
- Storytelling is timeless – From Homer to Homer Simpson, humans have been telling stories since language was developed. It’s an intrinsic part of the way we communicate with one another and how we remember the events in our lives.
- Stories are demographic-proof – Everyone, in every demographic, likes a story, and often times, a story can mean different things to different demographics. To quote C.S. Lewis, “It is my opinion that a story worth reading only in childhood is not worth reading even then.”
- Stories are contagious – Stories are made to be told. The best stories are made to be told again and again. By crafting a good story, some of the most successful people and businesses of the 21st century have taken that story viral and connected to an audience they never thought possible.
- Stories are easier to remember – According to psychologist Jerome Bruner, facts are 20 times more likely to be remembered if they are part of a story. People are engaged by stories in a way that just isn’t possible by presenting raw data.
- Stories inspire. Slides don’t. – All you need to do is visit any website devoted to discussing a movie, a book or a TV show and you’ll see that there is something about a story that makes us want to continue the discussion, to analyze it, to learn more from it and to act on it. The same could be said for your next presentation. Make a story, not a slide show.
- Stories appeal to all types of learners – 40% are visual learners, 40% auditory, 20% kinesthetic. Visual learners appreciate the mental pictures storytelling evokes. Auditory learners focus on the words and the storyteller’s voice. Kinesthetic learners remember the emotional connections and feelings from the story.
- Stories fit better where most of the learning happens in the workplace – According to communications expert Evelyn Clark, “upto 70% of the new skills, information and competence in the workplace is acquired through informal learning” such as what happens in team settings, mentoring, and peer-to-peer communication. And the bedrock of informal learning is storytelling.”
- Stories put the listener in a mental learning mode – Storytelling “recreates in us that emotional state of curiosity which is ever present in children, but which in adults we tend to lose. Once in this childlike state, we tend to be more receptive and interested in the information we are given.” – Margaret Parkin
- Telling stories shows respect for the audience – “If ever there was a time when you could just order people to do something, it has long passed. Telling a story, where you underline the moral, is a great way of explaining to people what needs to be done, without saying ‘do this’ ”- David Armstrong
Video is the best medium for telling stories. It’s immediate, visual, audible and active. It gives you all the tools you need to engage any audience with your story. And that goes for everything from advertisements to video blogs to executive webcasts. If your organization isn’t telling your story with video, isn’t now the time to start?
Find out more about how video can help you tell your organization’s story.