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The Psychology of Storytelling

What makes a story engaging

  • Suspense and “cliffhangers” allow you to create an addictive narrative;
  • Creating detailed imagery;
  • Using literary techniques for turning simple stories into memorable works of art.
  • Change made easier by providing an example.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

The Psychology of Storytelling

The Psychology of Storytelling

https://www.sparringmind.com/story-psychology/#

sparringmind.com

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Key Ideas

Persuasion through storytelling

Stories are a very integral part of being persuasive. 

Stories trump data when it comes to persuasion because stories are easier to understand and relate to.

What makes a story engaging

  • Suspense and “cliffhangers” allow you to create an addictive narrative;
  • Creating detailed imagery;
  • Using literary techniques for turning simple stories into memorable works of art.
  • Change made easier by providing an example.

Characteristics of persuasive stories

  • Delivery: matters as much as the content.
  • Imagery:  the brain “lights up” in reacting to imagery, truly transporting the reader to the events being described. 
  • Realism: poeple need a “human” element in the story that is easy for them to imagine.
  • Structure: people prefer stories that follow a logical manner.
  • Context: significant impact on the persuasiveness of a story.
  • Audience: determine who you don’t want reading your content along with who you do.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Hardwired for Stories

We love to tell and listen to stories. The 'Story Narrative' is hardwired in us, as we think and remember in stories.

A strong narrative can be the difference between succes...

Creative Problem Solving

Human beings are able to creatively solve problems, alone or in a group. This has given rise to many inventions, shaping common goals shared by a group of people.

We needed a 'sticky' idea to spread it among people, and the story narrative is exactly that.

Relating To The Characters

Stories cater to our Ego. A listener puts himself in the shoes of the protagonist of a story, and an idea is given emotional heft and sturdiness.

The more we are able to relate to the central character, the more engaging, effective and memorable a story narrative becomes.

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Our brain on stories

A story can put your whole brain to work.

When we are being told a story, not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we wou...

We are wired for storytelling

A story, if broken down into the simplest form, is a connection of cause and effect. And that is exactly how we think. We think in narratives all day long.

Giving suggestions

Exchange giving suggestions for telling stories.

A story is the only way to activate parts in the brain so that a listener turns the story into their own idea and experience.

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Storytelling is...
Storytelling is...
...the process of using fact and narrative to communicate something to your audience. Some stories are factual, and some are embellished or improvised in order to better explain the core message.
Why we tell stories
  • Stories solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages;
  • Stories bring people together: stories connect us through the way we feel and respond to them;
  • Stories inspire and motivate, by tapping into people’s emotions and baring both the good and bad.
Good stories are …
  • Entertaining. Good stories keep the reader engaged and interested in what’s coming next.
  • Educational. Good stories spark curiosity and add to the reader’s knowledge bank.
  • Universal. Good stories are relatable to all readers and tap into emotions and experiences that most people undergo.
  • Organized. Good stories follow a succinct organization that helps convey the core message and helps readers absorb it.
  • Memorable. Whether through inspiration, scandal, or humor, good stories stick in the reader’s mind.

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Three-Act storytelling structure
Three-Act storytelling structure

One of the oldest and most straightforward storytelling formulas:

  • Setup: Set the scene and introduce the character(s)
  • Confrontation or “Rising action” : Present a p...
Five-Act storytelling structure

Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid:

  • Exposition: Introduce important background information
  • Rising action: Tell a series of events to build up to the climax
  • Climax: Turn the story around (usually the most exciting part of the story)
  • Falling action: Continue the action from the climax
  • Dénouement: Ending the story with a resolution.
Before – After – Bridge storytelling formula
  • Before: Describe the world with Problem A.
  • After: Imagine what it’d be like having Problem A solved.
  • Bridge: Here’s how to get there.

Set the stage of a problem that your target audience is likely to experience ( a problem that your company solves). Describe a world where that problem didn’t exist. Explain how to get there or present the solution (i.e. your product or service).

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Why storytelling works

Stories are like instruction manuals that explain how we move from one state of being to another.

Stories help us imagine how we can improve our own lives or avoid unpleasant consequen...

A good story moves us

A good story can make us laugh or cry, our bodies can tense with a dramatic horror movie, or we are flooded with relief when the hero comes to the rescue. This experience is called transportation.

Transportation allows us to experience a story's movement through its characters. The characters' struggles and their rewards become our own.

Our relationship with stories

Good stories catch your attention, connects you by drawing you in and move you to action. Stories that don't capture your attention will fail to deliver their message.

When participants remain engaged with a story and see characters overcome conflicts, they will empathize with the characters and be more willing to act on these feelings.

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Great leaders are storytellers.
Great leaders are storytellers.

Stories are more than just tall tales or campfire yarns.

They include discussions of the enterprise in the future tense. They can inspire, instruct and invite.

How To Craft Great Stories: The Context

Establish the setting or scene.

Start with a transition to signify the story’s beginning before creating a realistic backdrop.

Ask yourself:
- What do I want my associates to feel?
- How can I nurture a sense of adventure, mystery, suspense, joy or invitation?
- Will my associates be able to visualize the scene I have in my mind?

How To Craft Great Stories: The Challenge

Create a dilemma with proper tension or dissonance with which associates can identify, then using one sentence, describe the challenge for each of the key characters.

Questions to help you create dissonance:

- How can I build a sense of concern, conflict, or suspense?

- Will my associates be able to visualize the challenge the same way I do?

- Will the dilemma create enough dissonance associates will desire a resolution?

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Persuasive Stories
Persuasive Stories

Content persuasive and memorable enough has the tendency to evoke the person to share it to others, has ethics, emotion, and logic. If the content is credible, has some emotional a...

Evoking Emotion

Studies on the ‘viral’ tendencies of articles showed that:

  • Positive messages were shared more often.
  • Articles evoking an emotional response to the reader fared well.
  • An exciting headline made a big difference.
  • Amusing stories of the same event or news performed better than the duller versions.
What Makes Content Go VIral

Content can go viral when one takes care of the following things:

  1. The emotional value of the content.
  2. Arousal of positivity or excitement in the reader.
  3. An insider culture, a social currency that is understood by a subset of people.
  4. A memory-inducing trigger, which helps one remember the core message.
  5. Practicality and usefulness of the information, making it shareworthy.
  6. Good quality content, packaged in a great story, making it compelling to view and share.
The Science Of Storytelling

According to Will Storr, author of ‘The Science Of Storytelling’, reality is just a phrase for a common set of shared facts and surroundings and is mainly a mind construct. We may not be living in ...

Change Matters

Human beings react to physical and environmental changes all the time. Likewise, a good story requires changes and challenges, and characters need to be provided with certain crossroads of change, else the story does not move.

Cause And Effect

Incomplete stories are filled automatically by the brain, as we have an urge to find meaning in everything. We also tend to believe the simplest explanations. Stories need to be shown a linear cause and effect for the reader to stay interested. If there are too many effects, the effect is lost.

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Bring People Into Your World

Walt Disney took suspension of reality a step further building theme parks that brought people into his world. You can bring people into your world through storytelling and brand activation.

...

Suspend Reality

Suspending reality is a powerful storytelling technique as it creates a safe, magical world in which to contend with powerful emotions and themes, and it allows the viewer or listener to be transported and associate that escape from reality with the story.

Anything is possible and that becomes inspiration.

Focus on Shared Desires

Disney stories have a near universal appeal because they are designed around struggles and desires that are common to humans everywhere.

You can apply this message to storytelling in your company, too. When you’re communicating with your customers, you should focus on the shared experiences and desires that make your product so valuable.

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How depression is measured

Depression is often measured by scientists using something called the Hamilton Scale. It runs from 0 (where you are dancing in ecstasy) to 59 (where you are suicidal). 

Causes of depression

Many leading scientists believe the whole idea that depression is caused by a “chemically imbalanced” brain is wrong. 

There are in fact nine major causes of depression and anxiety that are unfolding all around us. Two are biological, and seven are out in here in the world, rather than sealed away inside our skulls.

Childhood trauma can cause depression

When you’re a child, you have very little power to change your environment. So, you have two choices.

  1. You can admit to yourself that you are powerless and there’s simply nothing you can do about it.
  2. You can tell yourself it’s your fault and at some strange level under your control. If you were responsible for being hurt, then at some level, you have to think you deserved it.

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