25 Jul 2016

The power of business story telling

The force of storytelling is awaken and it will be one of the top business skills of the next five years.
By William Ho

The arguments or doubts on the power of business storytelling is usually supported only with the story itself – either the story of how successful your business is, or the story of how incompetent your competitors are – it really doesn’t matter. What does matter is that if conveying a good story is to achieve a triumph of persuasion that hits right into the hearts of your target audience – your clients, your staff or your investors, then we really have to look at this seriously. However, anecdotes don’t make a science. Is “telling it” just the latest fashion in a business world that is continually sweeping the universe? Or by revealing the secret to success or failure on how to get rich? Or does it actually represent a real and deep insight into communications strategy – the transformation of the way we communicate in business?

Until recently we have only been able to question about story’s persuasive effects. Many psychologists have begun a series of studies of how story affects the human mind. Results repeatedly show that our attitudes, fears, hopes, and values are strongly influenced by stories. In fact, stories, instead of theories, seem to be more effective at changing beliefs for most of us.

With this, there is an important lesson about the molding power of story. When we read dry, factual arguments, we read with our dukes up. We all become critical and skeptical. When we are absorbed in a story, however, we somehow drop our intellectual guard. We are moved emotionally and this seems to leave us defenseless either in a good or bad way. The readers or the audience accepts the story because, for a human, a good story always seems like an emotional attachment. The story itself, as a matter of fact, is actually a delivery system based on the script of the story teller. Telling a story is a skill for taking a message into the fortified citadel of the human mind.

The moral of this message is clear: that STORYTELLING is POWERFUL. The better we understand its requirements, the more successful our written communications will be. The new gospel of business storytelling offers a challenge to common views of human nature. When we think we can best persuade with dispassionate presentation of costs and benefits, we are implicitly endorsing this view. No matter how you look at ourselves, we are beasts of emotion more than logic. We are creatures of story, and the process of changing one mind or the whole world …. or the best way to emotionally connect other people is to begin with “Once upon a time…”

… or as George Lucas put it “A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away …” in his infamous legendary movie series STAR WARS opening!

May the force (of storytelling) be with you, and always!


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