Say it like you mean it

January 6, 2016 by

Storytelling. It’s what we do, all the time, whether we are conscious of it or not. It’s how human beings relate and how they experience reality. All of the talk we give ourselves about facts and reason is nice, and we try to function rationally, but at the end of the day, human stories are what convince us to act. Tales of people overcoming struggles, individuals that do amazing things, those are what move us.

There’s some interesting psychology in the mix. Proximity is key. Relatability is another. How comfortable or uncomfortable the story makes us plays a role, in sometimes surprising ways. For example – if you are trying to get people to engage with an issue, pick one example of a person who has done something extraordinary. If you try to highlight a group, your audience will find it harder to relate. With too many people, the problem seems too big. Give one success and we feel like we can change lives.

I had the opportunity to attend the Non-Profit Storytelling Conference in November and it was a great couple of days, fully dedicated to storytelling. In context, it was a lot about how to improve your organization’s ability to fundraise, but in reality, you could replace the word “donor” with “audience member” and most of the content was fully relatable to any story you want to tell. It remains true whether it’s a story to prospects to convince them to buy your product, or a tale you want to tell your best friend.

As Maya Angelou said “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

What’s the best story you’ve crafted?