In this video about persuasion and the power of story, Jennifer Aaker narrates why she believes stories can affect our happiness. She believes stories are more meaningful –- more memorable, more impactful, and more personal –- than statistics alone.
Writing that is rich with stories can be illustrated like I did when I explored where is the story? and can be imagined, which is the reason why good fiction writing is a good place to find engaging ideas.
Compelling content takes into account both sides of the brain -- it appeals to the emotion, and combines statistical data in support.
Two specific types of applications for stories that work.
The Story of Us
At 53, Eugene O'Kelly was in the full swing of life. Chairman and CEO of KPMG, one of the largest U.S. accounting firms, he enjoyed a successful career and drew happiness from his wife, children, family, and close friends. He was thinking ahead: the next business trip, the firm's continued success, weekend plans with his wife, his daughter's first day of eighth grade.
Then in May 2005, Gene was diagnosed with late-stage brain cancer and given three to six months to live. Just like that. Chasing Daylight is the story of his transformation.
Emotional connection is the reason why we keep reading and watching essentially the same plot told by many different directors, screen writers, and cast. In relationships love works, even when it ends up not working out.
It works when the object of affection is... well, an object.
It had me at "light on".
Walt Disney knew that well. And so does Pixar. Good stories are worth telling because the world wants to hear them. When a story is well told, it creates an intimate bond between the writer and the audience.
Business lesson: To have an impact on relationships, leave room for the other(s). Let your customers identify the role they wish to play and help them tell their story through experiencing your products and services.
The Culture Club
We all want to be part of the cool kids group, company, project, team, neighborhood, and so on. Culture is a consequence of what is going on in an environment.
People look around and see what is going on, what is rewarded and thus encouraged. The wider the gap between what an organization, association, and club says about itself and what actually happens there, the harder to craft a credible story.
Do the deed first, then live to tell the story. For culture to scale and grow with the organization, it needs to start from a point of integrity and responsibility.
In a recent exchange with Jonathan Fields in response to a post#, I said in my travels and experiences of late I've become more acutely aware of the strong need people have to meet, to relate, to be heard, to matter -- the world is thirsty for intelligent and meaningful connection.
Business Lesson: Hoping that others fail, giving them a little push down does not make a good strategy. Better to change the “ kill or be killed” story to when we collaborate, we accomplish incredible feats.
And that is a promise worth making.
Valeria is an experienced storyteller. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.