Depends. What makes a story powerful?

I hear passionate people say, “I want to tell my story.” I hear videographers and marketers say, “We help you tell your story.” I hear speakers say, “Be vulnerable and tell your story.” These assertions are missing the mark; but I will get to that in about 190 words. Hang in here with me; because oh yes,
I believe in the power of story.

Storytelling is not a trend. If you investigate the neuroscience and uncover how the brain responds to a great story, carefully crafted, and skillfully delivered, we can see that the power of story is undeniable. And those who learn when and how to share prepared stories will always have an advantage when communicating to influence minds, raise funds or close sales.

A well-told story is proven to elevate the neurotransmitters that delight our brain and cause us to remember.

  • Stories that are novel or promise resolve elevate dopamine, which keeps us intrigued and focused.
  • Stories with risk and strife elevate noradrenaline, which keeps us alert and energized.
  • Stories that celebrate loyalty or perseverance elevate serotonin, which makes us feel empowered and confident.
  • Stories that are vulnerable and authentic elevate oxytocin, which makes us feel a sense of trust and bonding.

So! There’s our proof. Stories sell. But today’s Talk to the Brain Tip is not about how or when to tell a story. Before we can learn those skills, we need to understand what makes a compelling story. The one tip for today is about what.

What is a story? Many folks hear about the power of story and they interpret that to mean, “tell my whole life story!” Um. No. That’s called a novel. The dopamine addicts of today have the attention span of a 3-year-old on Lucky Charms. The truth is, none of us has A story. We have lived a journey that is gloriously decorated with countless stories along the way. A winning story leads us into an unexpected adventure. It twists, but keeps us on track, never having to remember details and caveats. A powerful story takes us to a single moment in time where transformation is born. It’s an experience that has been saved in your brain simply because you have replayed it there many times. And there, behind the story is the lesson. Connect each of your stories to a valuable point, and you have made great strides in winning a sale, deepening a relationship, or changing hearts and minds.

My point? No. You don’t have A story. You have lived a colorful journey, and along the way, you have collected a treasure chest full of stories, each waiting for you to share as proof of your mission.

Just think back and start with, “I remember that time…..” (Don’t say at band camp. 😊)

Love and cheers,

PS – If you want more on the how and when to share your stories, send me a note here.

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