The Significance of Storytelling

After writing about Compartmentalized Communicating, I’ve been thinking about how significant storytelling is to the successful communications experience. Nothing makes that human, emotional connection better than authentic, compelling storytelling. It was Hans Rosling‘s brilliant presentation of statistics at TED India that has kept this topic on my mind.

As Hans demonstrates, telling a story can deliver your message almost effortlessly through the gatekeeper of the First Brain to the data processor of the New Brain. (More information on First Brain and New Brain is detailed in You’ve Got to Be Believed to Be Heard and a bit in my Compartmentalized Communicating post.)

Bert wrote an excellent post on The Power of Story. It’s spot on. I’d like to add value to it with this complementary post offering a few unique resources, each providing a different perspective on storytelling.

The Moth.  A non-profit organization dedicated to the art of storytelling.  With performances selling out in less than 48 hours with absolutely no advertising other than word of mouth, the demand for storytelling speaks volumes.

“One of the hottest events in town… The Moth is an evening of

unashamedly old-fashioned storytelling…

the performances are enthralling,

funny and moving, with a typical New York intensity.”

- The Times (London)

“The success of The Moth is one example of

the phenomenon of storytelling that is gaining momentum

nationwide. In The Moth’s case, these narrative

sessions are fast becoming an institution.”

- The New York Times

“We celebrate the ability of stories to honor the diversity and commonality of human experience, and to satisfy a vital human need for connection.” – from The Moth’s Mission Statement

Experience Project. The world’s largest living collection of shared experiences, with over 24 experience categories.  Launched in 2007, boasting nearly 3.5 million experiences shared, this is place where individuals share their stories in an anonymous, comfortable and supportive place.  A unique website revealing the human hunger to share and read stories, this website is also a useful tool for communicators to search for stories and ideas from categories such as Education, Entertainment, Politics, Business, Relationships, to name a few.  From confessions to inspirational stories, the Experience Project is an excellent resource for exploring the stories that connect human experience.

Problogger.net: Why Stories are an Effective Communication Tool for Your Blog. This popular blog by Darren Rowse (@problogger) highlights for the blogging community what Decker emphasizes for communicators.  In researching the historical data for his blog, Darren learned that story blog posts were among the most popular over the last five years.  His bullet point list of why stories are valuable for bloggers applies to all communicators, aligned with  Bert’s The Power of Story blog post earlier this year.

  • Stories engage the imagination of readers [listeners]fatherchildonbeach
  • Stories go beyond facts and theories
  • Stories reveal something about yourself as a blogger [communicator] (they’re personal)
  • Stories trigger emotions and the senses
  • Stories are conversational - they stimulate others to react and tell their stories [to you, to others and in their own communications experiences]
  • Stories provide hooks for readers [listeners ] to latch onto your blogging [message] (they’re relatable)
  • Stories grab and hold the attention of readers [listeners]
  • Stories are memorable – while people don’t always latch onto facts and figures – a good story can be remembered for years
  • Stories illustrate your points in ways that can be much more convincing (and convicting) than other types of information

The common thread of these three sites is clear.  People love stories; stories connect them to each other in the most basic human way. Stories are bridges between our humanity and the objective of our presentations. Something so significant should be shared.

Photo credit:  zinkwazi

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