Humans have been telling stories for a very long time, even before we had the ability to use verbal language. Early humans used to tell their stories through carvings on cave walls, and today there is an unlimited number of ways to tell and share stories. We all have a lot of stories – from life lesson stories of the past to stories of what we plan to do in the future. Every single nation has a story from which it was built, a story that brought the people of that nation together. Our movies, music, newspapers, etc., are all different methods people use to tell a story. The biggest corporations all started with a story. This makes storytelling stories a crucial tool in communication.
Learning how to tell a story has become more important than ever before, because we now know that it is the most effective way to communicate with others. The continuous advancement of technology has emphasized the unceasing need for people to learn how to communicate effectively through all its numerous channels. And while a good number of people think that new technologies have made communication easier, what it has actually done is increase the need to improve more traditional communication methods. For example, now, if you want to stand out from the competition (both professionally and personally), you must improve your communication skills through storytelling.
Why storytelling stories is essential to effective communication
Telling stories is a great way to add emotion to any information or data. Storytelling stories make your presentation or speech more exciting and more attractive. One of the main reasons why telling stories is so important is that it helps to engage your audience. It does not really matter which career path you are currently in; whether you are a lecturer, an entrepreneur or a politician, you need to be able to engage your audience and create an emotional connection with them, in order to move them to action. People learn more efficiently and participate more when the activity is engaging. Storytelling stories is simply the best way to achieve this goal.
Human beings evolved to enjoy stories. When we listen to a great story, we tend to enwrap ourselves in it just as if we were one of the characters of the story. Good stories help people feel information viscerally rather than simply consuming it. This is why storytelling is so effective and why you must use it in your communications.
How to effectively communicate through stories
Even though some people have a natural ability to motivate and communicate with others through stories, others find it a bit more cumbersome. The good news, however, is that it can be mastered through practice just like other skills. Whenever you wish to start telling stories, it is important to develop a strategy around the key message you wish to convey to your audience.
One key point to note from the start is that most great stories (the ones with the potential to engage your audience) are about people who are facing some crisis that they are trying to overcome. Great stories are usually about how people transform a bad day into a good one. This helps to create a connection with your audience.
The next thing to keep in mind when storytelling is that the story must be related to the key message (theme) you are trying to send. It serves no purpose to narrate a story which has no link to your central theme. It simply won’t push people to take action. For example, if you are trying to encourage people to share their life lesson stories, then you could tell a story about how you had difficulties doing that in the past. Talk about the challenges you faced, how you overcame them and how sharing your life lesson stories positively impacted your life.
Make your stories more interesting and more emotional, and you will be able to have your audience thinking about your core message for a very long time. The more they think about it, the more they will take action.
The impact that telling stories have on communication simply cannot be ignored. That is why great leaders are also great storytellers – they know they can use stories to connect with people and motivate them to take action. But, this skill is not only reserved for leaders, politicians or entrepreneurs. It is also available to you and me, and we can all develop our communication skills by telling stories on a regular basis.