If you’ve ever been in a meeting thinking “this meeting could have been an email” it’s not hard to understand why.
Humans are narrative creatures, deriving our meaning from cause and effect, and the progression of events to a satisfying conclusion, in short, we want to be told a story. Businesses have frequently failed to capitalize on this, making it one of the best areas for progress in 2021. Here are 5 reasons why stories are the best way to communicate, especially for business!
- You can’t look away from a good story. Neuroscientists have claimed that an average person can spend 30% or more of their time daydreaming, even when working on important tasks, or when they’re stuck in meetings that could have been an email, Greg!
But all that changes when presented with a good story. Neuroscientists say that when engaged in a story people are entirely focused, even displaying mirroring in regions of their brain that correspond to elements in the story. So if you want customers thinking about your brand and not what’s for dinner, present them with a story!
- Stories are, bar nothing, the most powerful way for media to activate our brains. According to this buffer.com article, when a storyteller uses a metaphor, such as “the singer had a velvet voice”, the same brain region that would be activated by actually touching a piece of velvet is activated by hearing the metaphor in the story. This keeps listeners engaged and increases knowledge retention!
- “Personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations.” This powerful fact lets us know that when we present people with data we’re competing to get into the 35% of their conversations that aren’t stories and gossip. Given the chance to be the former rather than the latter, it’s easy to see what the right choice for businesses is.
- “Telling stories is one of the most powerful means that leaders have to influence, teach, and inspire.” according to Vanessa Boris of the Harvard business review. Stories contextualize information for the listener, increasing understanding and stickiness, as well as connecting the listener to the story teller, forging a sense of camaraderie that carries over to your brand when done right.
- Well designed narratives are also more persuasive when it comes to changing people’s opinions. Stories let the listener explore the information that is different than their preconceived notions without being directly challenged by it, which would trigger a natural hardening of their position. This space for exploration lets the listener gradually assess the information presented, and makes them more likely to adopt your view afterwards.