Telling stories is hardwired into humans. We have been telling the same stories or variations of them for thousands of years. Storytelling allows us to communicate our values, passions and other components of our personality. Whether you are a politician or executive, a compelling narrative is required to build trust with customers, voters or employees.
When it comes to storytelling, there are a few rules to adhere by. First, refrain from using jargon. The “curse of knowledge” means that we often assume that others already know what we know, and we end up using terms that lay people cannot understand.
Equally important to a great story is the right structure. The rules governing the art of storytelling have changed little since antiquity and Aristotle’s maxim that “every story has a beginning, a middle and an end”, still holds true today.
Finally, timing is also key. Have you ever noticed that most TED talks are somewhere between 15 and 18 minutes long? This was determined to be the maximum length of time we can listen to a single speaker before our attention wanes, regardless of the topic.
These are the fundamentals of storytelling, but respecting the finer details is the difference between a decent story and a memorable one.
In the video below, I cover the nuances of crafting a story and how to elevate your personal narrative.
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