With all the hype about storytelling, it’s easy to think of it as just another marketing fad.
In reality, it’s a distinct way of communicating that offers completely unique benefits.
Stories are how we make sense of the world.
We hear them as soon as we can talk, so they tap into our deepest memories and emotions.
When we read them as children, they show us how things work, and prepare us for things we’ve yet to experience.
As adults, we use them to talk about our memories, our problems and our emotions, and to describe our relationships with each other. Stories aren’t just like life; they are life.
Stories can do magic.
They take us away to other places that are completely removed from our experience, yet perfectly familiar.
Cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley has found that when we read a story, ‘we create our own version of the piece of fiction, our own dream, our own enactment’.
In the process, we use the same parts of our brains as if we were really watching or living through the events of the story, drawing on our own past experience to reconstruct it in our heads.
Stories are powerful.
Once we’re drawn in, we have to go with the flow.
We surrender to the will of the storyteller and accept their way of seeing the world, at least for a while.
And if we want to know how things turn out, we have to stay with the story until the end.
Stories are unique.
All this means that stories are much more than just another writing technique.
When we read them, we have a completely different experience from when we merely digest information or compare benefits.
And that’s why story telling is good for business.