What has recently been sold as an indispensable method of communicating effectively with customers, is actually the most natural way to share, entertain or convey knowledge. The talent for this is inherent in each of us. After all, we listen to stories throughout our lives and unconsciously absorb them. So, why is it nevertheless quite difficult to get attention with storytelling?
Well, getting attention through good stories that captivate listeners emotionally and at the same time arouse their interest is not that difficult if you make sure that your story:
- seems realistic. Because constructed stories often lack a crucial ingredient - enthusiasm. Of course, the stories in business have the purpose of selling, winning customers or gaining their loyalty, but a good story makes the customers forget all that. You can achieve that best by letting them immerses in the story.
- has a hero. However, the hero should not be you. Of course, you can tell what you have experienced from your point of view, which is even good because it is authentic, but keep in mind that the main character in your story should arouse sympathy. Achievers who always succeed in everything, who put up with every setback as if they were made of steel, are of little use as a role model. They differ too much from our own self-image to identify us with them. Instead, we love to hear stories that reinforce our belief in ourselves.
- has a conflict. Make sure the hero's problems and challenges are part of the story so that it appears authentic and the readers feel reflected. Show the way out of the crisis: the brilliant idea that made the breakthrough or the lesson you learned from a major life event. A strong conflict also gives rise to strong motivation. Don't forget how difficult situations can weld together - just think of the cohesion in the face of COVID-19.
- has a simple plot. That’s easier said than done, I know! My tip is not to build too much around the core of the story, because it distracts and prevents the stories from being remembered. Conversely, well-chosen and vivid details do exactly that: they are memorized in our brain and ensure that we perceive history as something unique. As a little exercise, you might want to recall film scenes that you are not getting out of your head: such a detail is, for instance, the box of chocolates that Forrest Gump hands around on the park bench. It also perfectly sums up one of the film's main messages, namely “you never know what you will get in life”, but precisely these surprises, make the best stories in life.
As the Forrest Gump example shows, you have to get to the point, whereby the core message does not even have to be part of the story, but can be conveyed solely by ‘telling the story” – and that’s what makes the story credible and authentic.
By Daniela La Marca