I think that storytelling is the greatest technology that humans have ever created. Storytelling is the basis for almost everything in our society, and the way we interact, build, communicate, live and dream all derives from it.
I think we need to spend more time — and more resources — on learning and telling better stories. In our personal lives, careers, businesses and social circles. Storytelling is a skill that many people don’t have anymore, but it’s all because we don’t study and teach and learn it.
Going back hundreds of years, when gathering and telling stories was something that people did as a major communal activity, you’d learn that skill formally or informally from the people in your circle who were particularly gifted at it.
And honing, improving and growing your own stable of stories was an element of your social growth that deeply mattered and was incredibly intricate.
Basic Learnings On Storytelling
- Use data and statistics and research when you’re telling a story. At Stanford Universty, they found that statistics combined with stories have a retention rate of 65–70%. That’s insane.
- Have a clear structure in your mind. Don’t walk into a story with “This one time at band camp…” because your audience is not going to care. You have to think about how stories work. What sparks the story? What’s the up and the down? What’s the climax?
- Tie your story into a larger point. Don’t just tell a story of the time you had a drink in a bar and the drink was delicious. Tell the story of the time you had a drink in a bad and the drink was delicious because your hometown has some of the best bartenders in the state.
- Make your story relatable. Use language, settings, characters, characterisations that people can resonate with. Maybe you didn’t just go to the bar. Maybe you went to the bar because it was one of those hot nights last summer where the whole city was up all night…
[This post by Jon Westenberg first appeared on Medium and has been reproduced with permission.]