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Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's a Storyteller's Business by Janet Callaway | The Natural Networker

Life, social media marketing, network marketing, blogging and success in each, in large measure, depends on how good you are at telling “stories.” People understand best when they hear a story. Following is a post from last year which explains why this is so.

Learn how to be an effective storyteller and you will be amazed at the positive differences you experience. Janet

How many times have you heard that phrase?  Or, “facts tell, stories sell.”  While we have heard both many times, some of us want “the facts, ma'm; just the facts.”  Well, there is a physiological reason why this is a storyteller's business.  Let me explain.
When you read or hear the phrase “Once upon a time . . .”  what happens?  If you are like most people, you smile, relax and prepare yourself to enjoy the story.  You know someone is going to entertain you; not ask you to do something.  Because it is going to be a story, we pay more attention to what is being said and consequently remember the story long after we have forgotten the facts.

A brief explanation of how the brain works and thus why stories work, will flip the switch for the left brain's logic..  In addition to the left and right hemispheres, our brain also consists of the “lizard” brain (fight or flight; see Seth Godin's Linchpin for greater detail) and the limbic brain (emotions).

In anticipation of hearing a story, the limbic/emotional brain  starts to create an altered state of awareness.  It actually relaxes and quiets the left side of the brain.  This is very important.

Why?  Because the left brain, the logic side, responds to numbers, examples, facts, figures and logic.  It can never get enough information, always wants more, more, more which leads to procrastination.  Seeing things only in black and white and as single items, the left brain demands certainty and remains emotionally neutral.

A story-opening phrase “fixates” the left brain and frees up the right brain.  Responding to images and taking in the “whole” picture, our right brain can imagine the future.  “Our right brain will fill in gaps with intuition, with “gut” feelings, can tolerate shades of gray, and sees overall patterns.  Our right brain is decisive, decides to trust, decides to take action, and most importantly, connects emotionally.” (Mike Bosworth, author of Solution Selling and CustomerCentric Selling.)

By using a story to convey ideas, a pathway makes the emotional connection and the right brain is now activated.  People are then able to visualize, to imagine, to trust, to be hopeful, retain and to act.

Stories create anticipation, enhance attention, and increase retention.  Simply put, stories help to take people from where they are now to where they want to be.  If we want people to take decisive action, we need to create the future they want in their imagination.

May I tell you a story?  Once upon a time . . . .

Have you noticed the difference when you tell people a story or use an analogy rather than just telling them the facts? Janet


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