Three Reasons Why Storytelling is So Powerfully PersuasiveNovember 14th, 2012 by johnhaydon
You’ve been tasked with content creation for your organization, but have mixed feelings about it.
On the one hand, you’re excited to exercise your creativity. But on the other hand, you’re afraid that your creativity won’t be enough to satisfy your boss and your supporters.
Fortunately, you have the power of storytelling on your side, which has remained a constant in our ever-changing world of social media and big data. No matter how information is presented to us–now and into the future–our brain will continue to glue it all together with storytelling. In fact, human beings have always survived and thrived from storytelling.
Werner takes you step-by-step through 1,300 feet of never before seen renderings of cave bears, rhinos, wolves, and other animals . . . etched and painted over 32,000 years ago!
This drama of our early hunting communities, who lived and died alongside the Neanderthal, are preserved in these breathtaking cave paintings. It’s as if they valued their stories more than anything else!
Etching Stories Into Hearts and Minds
Today stories still play a central role in how we make sense of the world, and how we make decisions.
- Stories Are More Compelling Than Facts–A fundraising study by Wharton School of business found that people are more likely to concentrate donations on a single “identifiable victim” in a given scenario, even though more people would be helped if donations were dispersed to help future victims. In this case, Rokia, a seven-year-old girl living in Mali becomes the protagonist in a story we absolutely need to play a role in by donating money to help her!
- Stories Change Minds–Storytelling helps change hearts and minds around your cause. The Diary of Anne Frank did more to educate people about Auschwitz than any research on the topic. Melanie Green and Tim Brock of the UNC found that storytelling changes the way information is processed, and that the more absorbed you are in a story, the more the story changes you!
- Stories Allow for Participation–When you tell a story, you are essentially creating a framework for the listener or reader to insert their own details, playing an active role in the story itself.
For example, if I tell you about the day I finally passed my driving test at age 16, even after running a red light while the DMV agent cursed, you automatically create a picture in your mind. Without telling you any details, in your mind you’ve created the make and model of the car, the specific roads we drove on, and even the exact face of the DMV agent (which is most likely male in your version).
When your supporters insert their own details into your nonprofit story, they have equal ownership in the story and the outcome.
How to Get Started With Effective Storytelling
Storytelling is the process of turning the facts and figures behind your cause into content that speak emotionally in very simple terms. It will take time and you will never master it, but here are a few good paces to start:
- The Psychological Power of Storytelling
- The Storytelling Animal
- 7 Ways to Improve Your Storytelling
- Storytelling Theory and Practice
What tips and resources can you share?