Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication … and the most powerful. The human mind is hardwired to respond to stories. According to Pamela Brown Rutledge, PhD, MBA, “Our brains still respond to content by looking for the story to make sense out of the experience.”
Therefore, when you use the power of storytelling in your presentations, you are better able to get your core message across to your audience. You are tapping into the human minds natural way of learning and using it to your advantage … and helping your audience understand your message better.
So how do you use stories in your speeches?
- Share anecdotes with emotional triggers that further your message.
- Use case studies that illustrate your points.
- Organize your information so that it has a clear beginning, middle and end.
“Stories are how we think,” says Rutledge. “They are how we make meaning of life.” And they go by many names: stories, tales, schemas, cognitive maps, metaphors, narratives, scripts, etc.
You can also use elements of storytelling to help further your message without going into an entire story itself. Use metaphors, analogies and similes to create word pictures in the minds of your audience.
Think about this: The subconscious mind processes imagined experiences in the exact same way as real experiences. To the subconscious mind, they are the same. When you can weave an emotionally rich experience with your presentation, you can provide a more powerful speech than if you don’t. This brings your message more fully home … communicating to your audience on more than a conscious level.
People remember more how you made them feel than what you said. Storytelling can make your message more memorable by creating an emotional subtext that allows your message to take root.
The Psychological Power of Storytelling by Pamela Brown Rutledge, Ph.D., M.B.A.