“Good stories surprise us. They make us think and feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that a PowerPoint crammed with bar graphs never can.”
– Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, “The Storytelling Edge”
How many times have you been victim to a boring presentation that’s accompanied with dull data in PowerPoint slides that, no matter how beautifully designed, just don’t grab your attention? Unfortunately most of us have suffered from slideshow fatigue at one point or another. But it’s not necessarily the content in the slides that taxes our attention so heavily – it’s how that content is presented.
The art of storytelling is what sets apart average presentations from great ones. It’s what makes some speakers memorable while others fade into the background. It’s what captivates an audience, and it’s what compels them to take action. Here’s why it works so well.
Storytelling empowers empathy
Storytelling puts a human face on an experience. Consider this: would you be more compelled to donate to an Alzheimer’s organization because you learned 5.8 million people suffer from this disease, or because you learned your coworker’s wife was just diagnosed with it? After hearing about your coworker’s personal battle with the disease and how it’s impacting his everyday life, would you feel more connected to the cause? More than dry data and statistics, stories connect us with people, tug at our human emotions, and create opportunities for empathy.
Stories capture our attention
Think about your favorite movie. You might love it because it has a great cast, or exquisite costumes, or state-of-the-art editing. But it’s likely much simpler than that – you probably love the story. That’s because a narrative with a hero, an adventure-filled journey, a relatable challenge, and a tense crescendo is a lot more memorable and relatable – and even more fun – than information presented without characters, a story arch, and a resolution. This is why great stories capture and keep our attention so well.
Stories inspire action
Aileron has partnered with Lore Storytelling owner Bridget Flaherty to offer a workshop that helps businesses use stories to strengthen company culture, connect with customers, and nail the speech. On their website, the company says this about storytelling: “Stories are the lifeblood of a cause. If you want to pull people together there is no better way than to paint a picture they will care about through story.”
Storytelling’s ability to elicit action makes it a powerful tool for business leaders. Whether you’re telling your company’s story in person, on your website, or in a sales pitch, you have minutes – sometimes seconds – to capture your audience’s interest and compel them to take action. If your story isn’t compelling, relatable, and memorable, your chances of inspiring action dwindle.
If you’re interested in learning more about the power of storytelling and how you can use it in your personal and professional life, you may enjoy Storytelling Workshop. In this day-long workshop, you’ll unify your purpose, vision, and value into a succinct, captivating story that you can share with customers, investors, partners, and brand advocates. This workshop is highly interactive, so come with an open mind ready to actively work on your story with your peers.
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