“Tell me a story.” We’ve all said that to our parents when we were kids. We’re still saying it as adults whether we know it or not. We crave stories. They feed our imagination. They fuel our dreams. Humans cannot live without stories. Here’s why.
Every human being wants to feel valued. You can’t feel valued until you are heard. Storytelling allows you to be heard and valued. The better your story, the greater your perceived value. In fact, without a story, you are invisible. Remain invisible, and you perish.
You don’t have to believe that storytelling is integral to your survival, your sense of worth, your ability to move and influence people, and the amount of money you earn. You don’t have to believe that storytelling can determine how happy you are. Just consider this.
The image on the left is the thing in your head. It’s common knowledge that your brain differently on it’s left side than it does on it’s right. The left side loves logic, analysis, and linear thinking.
The right side loves imagination, emotion, and creative thinking. What does this have to do with storytelling? Let’s look at a well documented scientific experiment for the answer.
The split brain experiment revealed some fascinating things about what makes us tick, and what lights our fire. Scientists read a group of people facts and statistics. Simultaneously, they measured the people’s brain activity.
They discovered that the left brain was very active during the reading; it gobbled up the facts and stats. What about the right brain? It went to sleep. Yup. The creative zoned out on facts and statistics.
Then, the scientists read a story to the people. Not only did the right brain perk up and engage, but the left brain remained active and involved.
So, if you have something important to communicate, learn to do it with a story, unless you just love the sound of your own voice and don’t care if anyone is really listening to you. Remember, by telling a story, you show your listener respect because you are talking to the whole person.
Think of it this way. When you drone on and on with facts and statistics alone, your words do not communicate meaning; they simply make noise. When you weave your facts and stats into a story, you are making music. Would you rather listen to noise or music?
STORYTELLING IS NOT OPTIONAL
I’m assuming that you want to be heard, you want to make a difference in people’s lives, and you want to have respect, influence, and wealth. The, from today forward, commit to mastering the skill of authentic storytelling. It will not only enrich your life and business, it will be a lot of fun.
To appreciate the extent to which we are all hardwired to love hearing and telling stories, think about human evolution. Our cave dwelling ancestors left us knowledge about their world by drawing picture stories on cave walls.
When we developed speech, we literally told stories about our triumphs and tragedies with stories that we passed from one generation to another.
The origins of the powerful religious beliefs that define our civilization were communicated through stories. Think of biblical parables that are know around the world as well as the famous stories of other religious texts.
The printing press gave us the ability to write epic poems, great novels, and dramas about the complexity and richness of human experience.
STORIES IN A DIGITAL AGE
The Internet is not only accelerating the speed of our communication. It is actually rewiring our brains. It’s making the need for stories a matter of life and death. No, you won’t drop dead if you choose not to tell stories. But, you run the risk of becoming invisible.
Information is fired at us with lighting speed twenty-four seven. Our brain can’t accurately process the bombardment of data it receives without letup every single day.
Our brains are noisy and crowded. Imagine that you have an important message for the man in this graphic. The colored marbles represent the data that fills his brain to capacity. Your facts and stats will bounce right off him. There is no room for them in his head. Your words are noise to him. You are invisible.
There is one way to cut through the noise, deliver your message to him, and make sure that he is one hundred percent receptive to it. Tell him an engaging story that immediately hooks his mind, arouse his curiosity and interest, and gets him excited about what you have to say.
Want proof? Think of a time when you went to a movie at the end of a long day. Chances are, you brought many thoughts from your day with you. They were like the colored marbles. If the movie was a good or great one, it captured your attention with the first images and sounds on the screen and held you captive for the next two hours. The film’s storytelling interrupted the noise in your head.
Today’s master storytellers must learn to compassionately interrupt the noise in people’s heads, capture their attention, and hold on to it long enough to touch their emotions, influence their actions, and lead them to growth and transformation.
Your storytelling must quiet their minds and make room for your words. It must help them to achieve the peaceful inquiring mind like the one you see on the left. A mind that can’t help but ask, “What more can you tell me?
Make a commitment today to learn as much as you can about storytelling that will help you reach, move, and elevate people. Who knows, in the process, you might also become rich.