By Andy Kovacs
Man is a storytelling animal. We make sense of the world by telling stories.
– Walter Fisher
We make sense of the world by telling stories
Do we though?
Storytelling for Business is now a trending training topic in many organisations; but from my experience, it’s a communication skill which is met with derision by many executives.
They make all the right noises when they’re in meetings about how to increase market share with the marketing team. They say:
“Sure, if you think stories persuade people to buy more, then tell them.”
They make all the right noises when they’re in meetings about how to increase employee productivity with the HR team. They say:
“Sure, if you think stories motivate people to work harder, then tell them.”
But few of the executives I know (and that’s a LOT!) believe that storytelling applies to them. (When no one else is listening!) They say:
“Once upon a time stuff?”
“I’m an executive. A leader. A dealmaker. A persuader. I work with facts and figures, not happily-ever-afters!”
Strong words … but TOTALLY wrong!
Let me tell you a story
The psychologists, John Deighton, Dan Romer and Josh McQueen conducted a comprehensive study into the best persuasive communication approaches, for the most persuasive genre of communication: advertising.
If you’re an executive who believes that storytelling does not apply to you, you’re leaving 8/10 of your prospects for your rivals to pick up!
They rigorously examined how TV adverts try to get us to buy things, and they found out that just 2 persuasive communication approaches were universally used:
- Analytical Persuasion, where facts, figures, arguments, proof and logical reasoning were used to persuade people.
- Narrative Persuasion, where a story, with a character who has an objective and a problem, were used to persuade people.
Guess which approach was more successful?
The results were conclusive, people were more persuaded by stories – an incredible 80% of the time!
So, if you’re an executive who believes that storytelling, as a persuasive communication approach, does not apply to you; then you might have to accept that you’re leaving 8/10 of your prospects for your rivals to pick up!
If that doesn’t sound appealing, then start learning the persuasive communication master technique of storytelling today. It will make your life a whole lot easier!
63% of people will remember a story, whilst only 5% will remember a statistic; and 92% of customers want brands to make adverts which tell stories.
– Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience Study (2017)