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It’s About the Storytelling, Charlie Brown

In his famous TED talk about “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” Simon Sinek talks about the power of “why.” And that people “don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

One of his examples comes from Apple. The quintessential example for everything inspiration.

He asks his audience – which would inspire you to buy?

Take the version behind door #1:

“We make great computers. They're user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. Want to buy one?”

Now take the version behind door #2:

“With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?”

The winner is? The pitch behind door #2, of course.

Thing is, ‘pitch’ #2 is not just about the ‘why’ – it’s also about the story. It’s not just a list of features or even benefits. It’s a narrative. An engaging (mini) story.

But, whenever we hear “storytelling” when it comes to marketing and message building – many of us corporate types don’t hear actionable recommendations that are practical and easily executable.

What we hear is Charlie Brown’s teacher . . .

That is – "wah wah wah wah" (the trombone driven Peanuts version of: blah blah blah blah blah . . .)

The truth is just the opposite. It has even been neurologically proven: our brains are hard wired to remember stories. They have not been evolutionarily designed to remember bullet points. As shocking as that might be.

If we listen to a PowerPoint presentation with slide after slide with just bullet points and an occasional image, certain parts in the brain get activated. The slide deck hits the language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that’s it, nothing else happens.

But, when we are being told a story, it’s not only the language processing parts in our brain that get activated. As far as our brains are concerned, when we hear stories, we experience them. And that’s why, when we hear a story every other area in our brain that we would use were we to actually experience the events of the story, is also activated. Not just one lightbulb gets lit when we’re hearing a story (like it does with bullet points) – but a whole bunch of light bulbs get lit.

Stories we remember. Bullet points – not very often.

And that’s why storytelling for your content creation strategy is not just more blah blah to be readily dismissed. Storytelling is a key strategy for creating memorable content.

So, now that we want to spin beautiful yarn out of our content, how should we structure our story to make it engaging and converting? Well, that’s for the next post.

Stay tuned.

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