Science of Storytelling

Storytelling is vital to effective communication and campaigning – Here’s why!

storytelling-keyboardWhether you are hoping to inspire an audience, ensure a clear takeaway, or simply want to create engaging communications, storytelling is essential. Many of us see storytelling around us all the time – in video production, campaigns, corporate communications, lessons, etc. It seems that storytelling is a core aspect of engagement, but why? It all boils down to psychology.

How Storytelling Interacts with Our Brains

According to experiments conducted by a professor at Claremont Graduate University, storytelling releases the neurochemical “oxytocin,” which is the same chemical that our brain releases when it feels safe or cared for. That neurochemical is the same chemical that ignites a motivation to cooperate with people around us, which makes sense – logically, we would want to cooperate with people (or in situations) in which we feel safe and secure.

Beyond oxytocin being released when we hear a story, storytelling also activates a brain functionality called “neural coupling.” Neural coupling allows listeners to relate what they are hearing, watching, or reading to their own experiences – increasing their ability to not only remember the information, but feel influenced by it, as well. Storytelling ignites emotion in your audience in a powerful way.

Leveraging Storytelling

If you want to drive home a message, engaging with your audience and igniting a response, you need to leverage storytelling. In order to effectively do that, you must focus on the details of your communication – those details are where your audience will be able to personally relate to your message. To help you get started, an easy-to-follow guide to storytelling is below:

  1. Problem: What is the issue you have identified?
  2. Journey: How did you develop your solution?
  3. Solution: In what ways will your solution be a positive change?

Through the entire process shared above, your focus should be on building connection with your audience. For effective storytelling, you have to place yourself in the shoes of the people that will be listening to the story. What problems do they experience? In what ways does the problem(s) impact their life? You need to help your audience recognize themselves within your story – that is how you will ignite their neural coupling, shared earlier.

An effective story paints a picture in the audience’s mind – a picture that highlights them as the main character. In order to do that, you need clear details that have sensory ties to them. The clearer, and more emotionally driven, the details, the more attention-grabbing the story. Put simply, you need to build connection with your audience by helping them picture themselves in your communication or campaign.

Conclusion

We have all seen storytelling around us in many facets: family stories, fascinating legends that have been passed down, video productions, corporate communications, advertising – everything! After discussing how storytelling interacts with our brains, it’s clear why – storytelling allows us to feel the narrative, not just hear or see it. Neurochemicals are released and neuro functions are activated in favor of the storyteller. If you can perfect your storytelling abilities, you can engage and influence any audience.



OBM

OBM

Owl Bridge Media OBM is an end-to-end conceptual creative house built on the belief that to truly understand a business, one must understand its people. This mindset empowers us to tell authentic stories about what matters most and build a narrative through video and brand experience.

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