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#144 - Seven Reasons Why Your Stories Matters
How Your Story Can Change the World
This is Adventures in Storytelling your weekly note with resources, insights, and actionable tools for better communication through storytelling. Enjoy.
Your story is a powerful thing.
I start every single storytelling workshop I do by grounding participants in why stories matter. The reasons I’ve identified for their ability to make magic, shift perspective, and inspire. I’ve mentioned them in passing here but thought it might be valuable to share them all, together in one post. Because these are the reasons I do what I do and why (I think) you read this newsletter every week.
So here are seven reasons why your story matters. Think of this as a cheat sheet for when someone asks why you’re SO focused on storytelling in your work or business, career or life.
01 Create connections between the teller and the receiver – The sharing of a story creates a bond, a path into the life and experience of the teller. Those receiving are exposed to a new and sometime vulnerable side of you.
02 Drive people to action – That connection is also what makes people want to act and respond to your story. Consider not for profits and foundations, like the Sick Kids Hospital foundation, that use their patient stories to powerful effect to drive large donations.
03 Engage and inspire beyond just the facts – Stories turn a list of facts and dates, into people, places and things. They bring them to life in a way we remember. Think of the writing of Malcolm Gladwell, who has made a career of turning stats into stories that allow them to be digestible. Would so many of us have held onto the notion of the 10,000 hour rule (right or wrong) if not for him?
04 Teach or share knowledge - Think of your favourite teacher in high school, did they stand at the front of class and drone on, or did they tell you stories about people and life and the world to help you understand? My favourite class in high school was geography (I got 100%), because my teacher told stories of places, he didn’t just list countries and capitals.
05 Are memorable – Stories stay with us. They influence our thinking as they seep into our psyche. Have you ever finished a great book and thought about the characters and places for days and weeks and even years beyond that initial reading?
06 Bring ideas to life across mediums – Whether it’s a book, music, movie, or a piece of design, new ideas are born from stories. Barbie, the doll and the movie are great examples. That movie marketing campaign is a masterclass of bringing an idea (of a doll) to life across mediums.
07 (Well told) change the world and our perspective – I’m going to see Openheimer this week and I’m excited to understand how the story of this one man changed the course of a war and the world. No, it’s not always atomic bomb level change, even the small powerful shifts they make are essential world changing. Our individual worlds.
Stories are THE MOST powerful communication tool you can leverage every day. Specifically, your own unique stories are. They are the tales we tell. And when told well, they have powerful impact. I hope you take these and add to them as you continue to explore stories.
They’re also fun, when done right. So have fun with it. There are far more reasons why stories matter, these are my introductory seven. I’d love for you to share in the comments some of your reasons why.
A Story Well Told
I love an instagram food recipe account. That and design accounts. They make up the bulk of my follows. Which is why I’m always excited (and astounded) to find a food account that is new to me. Especially one that answers a questions I’ve been asking for almost four years: is it possible to make any gluten free baked goods delicious? Well, the question’s been asked and answered by my new favourite instagram account, @theloopywhisk (I’ve already made two of their recipes and they have both been delicious and perfect). I’d encourage a follow if baking, food science, or gluten free treats are at all your jam.
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