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“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.” Jimmy Neil Smith

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Storytelling
Definition

Storytelling has been an increasingly hot topic in today’s communication, from organizational to individual level. But what is storytelling, indeed? It’s quite simple: storytelling is the art of telling a story capable of attracting, engaging, and retaining an audience from the beginning to the end.

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Storytelling
Relevance

Arouses interest and emotions

Telling a story is a powerful way of connecting emotionally with an audience. That’s because a story brings surprise: new stimuli for our mind. And our mind is desperately seeking novelty all the time. Let me give you an example: imagine you’re having a coffee with your best friend. At some point he or she says: “listen, you won’t believe what happened to me yesterday. It’s insane!” At this moment he or she (storyteller) is preparing the ground for the narrative to come, which will get the listener’s attention from the very beginning. That’s the effect you want to have in your audience.
The capacity to arouse interest and emotions is particularly critical in remote work given the multiple "distractions" around us, as well as in digital platforms due to information overload. Therefore, your brand's content must tell a story that plants ideas and emotions into the listeners’ brain.

Creates empathy

A story turns facts into something meaningful to people’s lives. And this is so important! In a world ruled by data and statistics, stories take their hand and humanize them through inspiring characters and powerful narratives that we can relate to. In reality, storytelling stimulates the human brain like no other type of communication does. Accordingly, this magic effect can be grounded on neurologic evidence. One example I’d like to highlight is the mirroring effect, which is explained as follows: personal stories and gossip make up 65% of our conversations. In this sense, all of us organize our brains in short-stories (doing groceries, going to work, chatting with friends, and so on).
As we listen to a story composed by these and other familiar events, we are actually experiencing them like they’re happening to us. The same occurs when we’re watching a movie: don’t you dive into the narrative as if you were a real character? Doesn’t your heart beat faster sometimes? We’re viewers, but deep down we’re also protagonists of the story.

Reinforces our sense of belonging

For over 27,000 years, since the first cave paintings were discovered, telling stories has been one of our most fundamental communication methods. From that moment on, we started transferring knowledge from generation to generation, up to today. Human beings are social animals and our eagerness to communicate means that we’re all storytellers. We tell stories every single day. In this context, stories build community. Stories represent values and principles that we stand for, along with social dynamics that bring us all together. For instance, many people say that time flies. Doesn't it happen every time you meet with your classmates from school or university? You tell each other stories from those good old days.
The capacity to reinforce one’s sense of belonging is an optimal ice-breaker in any selling situation, such as a business pitch or a job interview. Moreover, storytelling is a powerful mechanism to align the values and culture of an organization, fostering team spirit and motivation.
Ultimately, if you’re capable of finding common points between you and your audience, you’ll have the best ingredients to craft a compelling story, keeping them by your side.

Storytelling
Application

Effective communication in critical moments

As noted above, you can turn storytelling to your advantage in a diverse set of touchpoints: online and offline; formal and informal; personal and professional. Whatever your communication goal is, there’s an untold story waiting to be shared.