The Storytelling Bandwagon
Story has been trending for some time as the cure-all for creating engaging content – presentations, blogs, sales pages, a PR-blurbs, newsletters, etc. Story, apparently, is the fast-track to connecting us!
Neuroscience shows that story ticks all the important boxes to create impact. It touches us deeply, releases ‘happy hormones’, builds relationships, supports memory, makes identification easier and quicker, etc. etc. And the relevance of all that for business was reduced to one goal? Story sells!
So, everyone scrambled onto the storytelling bandwagon to grab the attention the masses with their manipulative stories and to sell, sell sell.
However, the wheels soon began to fall off that bandwagon – for obvious reasons.
How story gets our attention and holds it
According to recent research, we are not suffering from a growing attention deficit. We’ve just become more selective about where we focus our attention.
Simply put, if something is boring, irrelevant, repetitive, re-cycled, manipulative we switch off almost immediately. If something arouses our curiosity, engages us, we can’t seem to get enough of it – we ‘binge’ on it!
Back to that stationary storytelling bandwagon mentioned above. Story in itself does not make engaging content. According to the same research findings, the winners on getting our attention and holding it are: “compelling stories” combined with “compelling visuals”! Note the word COMPELLING here!
How do you tell a “compelling” story?
A good way to answer that is to flip the question. Why does a story not grab our attention and hold it?
Here’s a few basics ‘Don’ts’.
- Your story is a thinly disguised sales pitch! People do not like to feel they are being manipulated or have their trust abused. Do not promise to tell a ‘story’ when you really intend to sell!
- Your stories are monologues about you. To make a story engaging, the audience has to identify with it and want to own it. It gets boring very quickly when you constantly talk about the same character – you!
- The story you tell is not relevant for the audience. Just because you think a particular story is good, interesting, funny, worked for others, etc., doesn’t mean it’s relevant! Always ask yourself before adding a story, “How does this story help the audience understand the point I’m making?”
- Your story is too long. For example, if you include stories in your 20- minute-presentation, then make sure that each story is about 2-3 minutes long – and only use 2-3 stories.
- You waste too much of your audience’s time on the backstory. Get to the primary story the goal, the problem, the challenge straight away and briefly include the backstory as the main story unfolds.
- Your story isn’t integrated into your content. Too often the story feels part of a ‘cut and paste’ activity. It interrupts the message instead of illuminating it. It takes know-how and practice to seamlessly integrate a story into your content, so that it feels ‘compelling” for the audience.
The goal of all our communication is to create connection, inspire engagement and start a dialogue
Through dialogue we organically build trust by adding value that invites participation, inspires action and eventually investment. Knowing how to integrate a “compelling” story into your dialogue is a powerful tool to achieve this. It’s also the quickest way to get off the storytelling bandwagon – for good!
If you want to find out more about how to do this, make an appointment and let’s talk about dialogue!