The Power of Storytelling

‘Now, what I want is, Facts.’ –Opening line from Hard Times – Charles Dickens

I was listening to the radio yesterday. It was something about the EU referendum. People were arguing about facts. I’m not saying facts are over-rated (especially as this blog relates to some scientific facts) but let’s just take a step back for minute and think about what really motivates people….ourselves and our business audiences.

Let’s think about effective public speaking

Public Speaking, done properly, needs to incorporate true and relevant stories which appeal to your audience’s emotions and help you connect with them, but there’s more than that. Much more.

Storytelling appeals to thought processes and intellect. But don’t just take my word for it. There’s real scientific basis for proving the power of storytelling.

There are seven areas of your brain which are stimulated by stories. These are the parts of the brain that respond to sounds, smells, language processing of the words that are heard, the comprehension of those words, movement, touch and finally colours and shapes.

So when you talk about what you’ve seen, heard, felt or even smelled, your listeners can see, hear feel and smell those things too.

They can walk where you have walked and what could be more effective than that to really convey who you are and what you are really all about?

You give your audience a chance to really get inside your heart and your head. That’s the connection you need.

Stories v Numbers

In terms of facts and figures (and I’m not saying that isn’t important when it comes to the end game of making sales or meeting your business or project objectives) only two areas of your brain are stimulated. Only two.

They’re the part that processes words, and the part that understands those words once they’re processed. So if you stand up and read from a slide about what result your product or business could bring to your audience, you’re only switching on part of their brain and you’re not going anywhere near reaching their heart.

When I try to visualise this in my head, I think about a brain being on a dimmer switch. Facts and figures will only light up isolated parts of your brain. But use a true story that is unique to you and the light can flood right across the brain.

Sometimes when I explain the work we do with our PPC members, the response can be ‘Hmmm….it all sounds a bit touchy feely to me’ but mastering storytelling within public speaking has a scientific basis.

But what’s the outcome from storytelling?

You’ll be more memorable.

You’ll tap into the emotions of your audience. And emotions are easier to recall than a load of facts on a power point slide.

And at the end of the day, most people are motivated by emotions.

Your storytelling can do that. Information about a product or service just won’t go as far.  If you want to motivate an audience to think differently, fell differently and ultimately do something differently, then it’s really time to hone those storytelling skills.

Lighting the bonfire of ideas – THINKB!G

And as well is switching on your audience, storytelling and going through the process of thinking about your own stories can ignite new ideas and thoughts in you. It can fuel your own creativity.

Want to be inspired? Book a ticket for ThinkB!G on 8 June.  Discover the Seven Secrets of Storytelling and use it to grow your business.