Most of us loves a good story.
I’m saying “most of us”, because the other day I saw a Facebook-post by someone I know where she quite explicitly wrote: “I hate stories. I want to read a good poem.”
So, perhaps I should not claim ALL of us since I just witnessed someone telling otherwise.
Regardless of that, all of our brains do love a good story. And that is precisely why businesses should look into narratives and stories when they think about what tactics they use in their communication.
Stories are a format that us humans have used in our communications since the day we became to exist. And I think we need stories now more than perhaps in a very long time.
This is because of the information exhaust syndrome we all suffer more or less these days. If you want to get through the barriers and blocks your audience members brains are putting between their consciousness and your message, you need to think more about what your message is about and why should the bouncer allow your message in.
Why are stories more current than ever?
Stories mean the same to our brain as oxygen means to our lungs. Stories allow our brains to go on a resting-mode. This is essential to give our minds a break.
Stories are more current than maybe ever, because of the constant information noise and overflow we all are exposed to through all media.
You can probably relate to the idea of relaxing in front of a good movie or with a great book in your hands. These days this applies also to audio books.
Not a lot can beat that feeling of entering the bubble of a great story and just letting go.
So much so that when the end is nearing in the story, you put the breaks on! You’re not quite ready to let go, because you know The End will mean an end to this bubble!
What storytelling is and what it is not
Storytelling is a tactic or a method where a narrative is chosen as the format for the message.
As you know, stories can be told in writing, in images and graphics, in videos and in audio.
But not all movies make a block buster.
A book is not automatically a great story.
Not all music is automatically a master piece.
Even though we may use the narrative format, not all narrative make a story. A “real” story is made up by specific characters, events and conflict.
What happens in our brain when we hear a story?
Imagine your brain. Close your eyes and take your mind literally inside your head.
When you hear a narrative told in a story format, several areas of your brain become activated. Many, many more than when you hear facts, numbers, odd details and information formulated in the more generic formats we are used to hearing information.
When the story you hear, see or read is relevant to you personally, the story syncs your mind with that of the storytellers. This is called neural coupling. A lot of this takes place on the unconscious level. I guess, you can notice this happening when you notice yourself paying attention to something.
As you notice yourself relating to one of the characters, or the character telling the story, an event called mirroring takes place. The mirror neurons enable you to mirror the experience you are being exposed to.
As we become emotionally charged with that happens in the story: the pain and the struggle followed by a resolution, dopamine is released in our brain.
What is essential to learn about dopamine is that it acts like a glue. If you want your talent audiences, or any audiences for that matter, to recall you, remember your name, place you on the Top of Their Minds, you need to regularly get that dopamine released in the brains of your talent audiences.
And finally, as dopamine likes to hang out with his other love hormone buddies, oxytocin is being released as a response to what happens to the characters in the story. The more your stories cause the love hormones to dance around, the more affinity can be built between what your stories represent and your audiences.
How stories can help in business communication?
The thing here is that when you are the messenger, you feel your message is really important and the recipient should think so too.
But being able to choose which message to pay attention to and which you choose to disregard is really a human right. Most business communication is formulated in a way that the audience chooses to disregard.
The actual information may not be that bad. But how we present it to our audiences ends up ruining the value. It is a skill to draft a message in a way that it makes immediate sense and relevance to the recipient.
I will talk about business storytelling in the episode #46 out next week.
#45 Why our brain needs a good story
Episode-length: 37:08 min
In this episode:
- What exactly is storytelling?
- Why stories are so important these days?
- What happens inside our brain when we hear a story that catches our attention?
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