Keys To Effective Storytelling - Page 2
Quickly: Storytelling communicates ideas holistically. As a result, listeners can get complicated ideas not laboriously, dimension by dimension, but all at once with a new gestalt.
Naturally: Storytelling is our native language, something we learn by the age of two. Abstract language by contrast is something that we learn later on in childhood, and is one that we rarely feel as comfortable in as our native language – storytelling.
Truthfully: Stories can communicate deep holistic truths, while abstract language tends to slice off fragments.
Collaboratively: In abstract discussions or presentations, ideas come at us like missiles, directing us to adopt someone else's mental framework. In such settings our options boil down to accepting or rejecting ideas, fostering yes/no, winner/loser confrontations. In contrast, narrative comes at us collaboratively inviting us to join the listener. It is more like a dance than a battle.
Entertainingly: Abstract B2B communications are often dry and non-engaging because they are populated with features and benefits. Readers and viewers are attracted to dynamic narratives. Stories not only provide a framework with meaningful points of reference, but they also engage, enliven and entertain.
Movingly, so as to get action: Storytelling doesn’t just close the knowing/doing gap. It eliminates the gap by stimulating the listener to co-create the idea. In the process of co-creation, the listener starts the process of implementation in such a way that there is no gap.
All I'm saying is to think about your website, your next newsletter, fact sheet or brochure. Is it any more than a list of product attributes and usage points? Why not take a whack at creating a stronger context within a broader segment of your target audience?
If it works—or even if it doesn't—tell me. I'm sure I'll understand you better after having heard your story.
Source: Brown, Denning, Groh, and Prusak, 2004.