Why do some stories have the power to cut through the noise and toss a javelin through our hearts, to have us savouring every word? While others have you barely glancing at the first couple sentences before you click away? Hint: It's also the reason marketers are desperately screeching at us to use storytelling in everything we do to market our biz.
First, we have ALWAYS told stories. Since cave drawings and campfires, we've related the details of our lives to one another through the medium of story.
Which means we've evolved to pay attention to stories. We're trying to figure out if it holds relevance for us in our lives right now. And thanks to the good ol' age of information we're getting faster at deciding if the story being told resonates with us.
Which is why these days you've only got seconds before someone decides if your story is worthy of their attention.
But what happens when someone decides your story DOES resonate?
When a story piques our interest we insert ourselves into it. We merge ourselves with the character in order to form an empathic response. And when we feel empathy with the characters in a story we're more likely to remember it and learn from it. (PS this is why it's so never enough to just talk about data but always include a personal story to illustrate your data)
So what does that empathic response look like?
When we're engaged in a story that matters to us our brain releases 2 chemicals - cortisol (to help us focus our attention) and oxytocin (to increase our ability to care and connect).
That means stories actually have the power to change out brain chemistry and our behaviour.
You can learn more about the research by watching this YouTube video.
Great, so there's actually scientific evidence for all this storytelling hype. Which might leave you with a few questions like...
1. How can I choose stories that will resonate with my clients?
2. How can I integrate my personal stories and life lessons into the narrative of my business?
3. How can I become a better storyteller?