By Roy Barker
July 23, 2021
Storytelling Is a Powerful Way to Get Your Message Across
Storytelling is a powerful way to get your message across. What is storytelling?
The simplest definition according to Dictionary.com is “the telling or writing of stories. To break that down a little further, Dictionary.com defines “telling” as “to give an account or narrative of; narrate; relate (a story, tale, etc.)”. Again, according to Dictionary.com, the definition of “stories” is a narrative, either true or fictitious, in prose or verse, designed to interest, amuse, or instruct the hearer or reader; tale.
To put this together, we can say that the definition of Storytelling is to give an account, narrate, or relate a narrative either true or fictitious designed to interest, amuse, or instruct.
Is Storytelling Art or A Science?
I would venture to say that to tell a compelling story is both an art and a science. It’s an art because the storyteller needs to know what’s appropriate for each situation. They also must weave the fabric of the story, melding it into something you want to listen to and keeps you wanting more.
Storytelling is considered a science because you need to know what basic components to include. These components include the character (which is generally considered one of, if not the most important part), the plot, the setting, the conflict, and the resolution. Riley Hooper boiled it down to the 4Ps, people, places, plot, purpose.
People At The Center
Think of stories you’ve heard in your past by great storytellers; the impactful tales. When they were sharing stories, what made them all interesting? They generally had a person you could relate to at the heart of them. Great stories have a person at their center.
As Dave Bricker said in a recent episode of The Business of Business Podcast, “The number one rule of storytelling is that stories are always about people. If you remember nothing else today, remember that stories are always about people”.
Find a Connection
Finding and developing a connection with our audience is an important part of storytelling. We need relatable characters and a simplistic plot. Good stories are relatable to the recipient or audience. If the plots are too complex, like containing too many minute details or too much data attached, they become hard to follow. If characters that can’t be related to, or are too short or too lengthy, you will lose the intended audience.
Four Types of Storytelling
Auditory is probably the oldest and most commonly used form of storytelling in our personal lives. This consists of both sound and the spoken word. In the days prior to formal language people grunted and groaned. We also communicate through music.
The spoken word is very powerful. We grew up telling stories to our parents from our day, like what happened at school. As teenagers, we learn to tell stories to keep ourselves out of trouble. As an adult, we tell our children bedtime stories. And as older adults, we tell the stories of our life.
Written Word stories are published in books and magazines – we journal, write scripts, and blogs. The printing press was a revolutionary invention to help spread the written word exponentially faster. Present-day internet searches make it quick and easy to research any topic.
Visual dates back to scratching on walls in the caveman days. This was to tell a story, leaving a legacy for others to find. We are still very visual people, hence the line “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Storytelling is powerful.
Touch/feel, we can also tell stories through touch and feel. We can share the story of our day through a hug or gentle touch of a shoulder. Braille was developed to help communicate with the sight-impaired.
Storytelling In Sales and Marketing
Storytelling is powerful, it’s about connecting and engaging with your audience. Depending upon your role, stories may be delivered in a variety of ways. This could be over the phone, face-to-face, video, digital or many other ways. We need to know our audience and what will resonate with them. As we learned in our definition, storytelling is designed to entertain or instruct. I would have to add education to this list.
Once we know our audience, we must decide what our goal is. We can be entertaining in meetings. We may want to instruct with a call to action or just informational education. It’s important to weave a story that will be of interest and accomplish our intended goals.
There is a lot of information to help us become better storytellers. Start by listening to the latest episode of The Business of Business Podcast, “Struggling To Create a Message Customers Actually Want To Hear? Storytelling Wins the Day” With Dave Bricker. You can also visit his website StorySailing.
Wishing you marvelous marketing and happy selling by incorporating storytelling into your activities.