Story is you and me. We are either telling, listening or reading one. And let’s get it straight, it can give us every sort of feeling (happy, sad, anger, disgust, joy and whatnot). James Patterson has rightly said it:
What are we but our stories?
Stories have been with you since the day you know. When you were small, you were always fascinated by a bedtime story and when you grew up, you are still around it by the light, isn’t it?
Long ago, with the increasing use of fire, early human- men, women and kids would gathered around it to gain warmth and protection. The dusk drew people together like a magnet and with this social interactions began. A culture of story by the firelight became prevalent.
Truly, it can inform, educate and entertain. And the way you with connect it matters. Everything you know, have experienced and have created when placed together in a box forms a story, a window to your soul. This window opens up with connection and communication, the two concepts which can bring people together.
Hence, storytelling is about connecting and communicating your ideas to people. It can be a personal story or a made up one, the main focus is on conveying the idea. Studies in archaeology and anthropology suggests that with it, your brain evolves.
What happens to your brain?
Yes. We do have some science behind it. Language processing, hearing, motion, touch, sense of smell, emotion and visual processing are some cortex activities involved in storytelling. Thus, it activates different cortex activities of your brain.
There is no surprise why we are into it! Hover over the image to learn more…
Neural Coupling: When you listen to a story, your brain releases oxytocin. Neural coupling allows you to turn it into your own ideas and experiences. Thus, it makes it easier to connect with the storyteller.
Mirroring: When you experience the same brain activity as the storyteller, you are mirroring. Thus, creating a deeper-shared connection.
Dopamine: Your emotional reaction to the story releases dopamine which makes the story easier to remember and recall.
Cortex Activity: A great story lights up brain’s different cortex activities. For instance, language processing, hearing, motion, touch, sense of smell and visual processing.
The Story arc
Just as the brain detects shapes, it detects patterns. And in those patterns, we find meaning. Every story has a pattern, thus, a meaning. Literally, this pattern is called a story arc. Hence, finding that arc and making it better is what makes a great story.
Sometimes, you may be so acquainted with details or rather facts that you may loose the real goal. You may be funny and interesting but if you do not give your audience something to walk away with you have lost the track.
|It activates different parts of the brain.||It activate only two parts of the brain.|
|It is easy to communicate and connect with.||It is abstract and conceptual which is difficult to connect with.|
|It is easy to recall due to connection.||It is difficult to recall.|
|It invokes emotion.||It is difficult to have an emotion.|
|It provides insight, actionable information, perspective and hope.||It provides data and information.|
Your goal is to give insight, actionable information, perspective, hope- so do that. Give your audience a meaning.
- A story must have a conflict, trouble or a crisis, it will grab the attention of your audience.
- If you want people to listen to you, share your emotions and vulnerability.
- Follow the formula of story arc.
- Remember Maslow’s need hierarchy.
- Lastly, give your audience a meaning.
According to Maslow’s need hierarchy, every human has these basic needs- Physiological, safety, belonging, esteem and self-actualization. So, if you inculcate one or more of these needs into your story in the form of conflict, you will grab attention of people.
The rise and fall of one or more of these needs will guide the rise and fall of the arc. The needs may differ but the arc remains the same. Just the value it provides changes.
Serious about storytelling as an art, watch this playlist below:
#storymaking #storymatters #learncrush #keepcrushing