That Got Personal: Storytelling

May 7, 2012

Thank you to Flickr user NickPiggot for the photo.

"So, I'm driving in a parking lot, when I see a plastic bag fall out of the car in front of me. It tumbles over the ground for a couple seconds. Then, all of the sudden, it gets up and walks back to the car," my friend explains. He talks over the coffee shop chatter to our group, "It turns out it wasn't a plastic bag at all. It was a little girl."

In my mind there is a thick catalogue filled and filed with stories from friends. Storytelling is emotionally engaging and is touted to be super effective in both sales and marketing. That's great to hear, but scientific evidence would be even better.

Enter Peter Guber and his book Tell to Win. He finds that through stories our beliefs (attitudes, fears, hopes and values) can be influenced more effectively than a strong, logical argument. This is bad news for the mainstream website, proposal, or powerpoint.

"Entering fictional worlds 'radically alters the way information is processed'" according to psychologists Melanie Green and Tim Brock. They found that the more absorbed a reader is, the less likely they are to notice mistakes in the story.

A well crafted story is can be a fun way to learn (or tell) about something new or it can essentially be a trojan horse. It can deliver false information without the consumer catching on. Guber, the author, makes note of this, but highlights the positive uses of the story.

Incorporating plot, prose or narrative into your upcoming presentation, discussion or what have you, can be incredibly effective and engaging. This allows you to make that all important personal connection with the customer and just about anyone around you (including your friends in the coffee shop).

Source: Why Storytelling is the Ultimate Weapon

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