Stories are at the top of the format heap right now, because they work. Although they’ve been around forever (the Lascaux cave paintings in SW France are 17,000 years old), most of us still thrill to good stories on pages and screens.
Stories help us make sense of a world that can be hard to understand. Lisa Cron, author of the wonderful Wired for Story, clarifies that stories drive emotions and emotions drive decisions. We count on our emotions to help us break through the clutter of the 3,000 messages we’re bombarded with each day.
In research on the brain, scientists have found that hearing a story rather than simply reading text fires up a richer set of connectors, it sparks emotions, it summons up connections with memories, and so “you remember things when they’re in a storytelling format two to seven times more than you do than if you just get the text,” she says.
Use This Insight to Shape Stories that Motivate Action
Once you define a clear and doable action you want your listener or viewer to take, brainstorm on how to best connect her with the information or call to action (CTA) you want to share.
Although most of us are lucky enough to have always had a place to live, we do know what it feels like to feel alone, be pressured by bills and/or struggle to pull it all together. So we can relate to those aspects of the Roberts’ story, and that makes the story relevant and more likely to be acted on and shared.
But there’s more—Story-Fueled Connections Spur Trust, Rapport and Sustained Action plus Expand Your Base
You want your listener to take action because they want to—not because they’ve been told to.When you shape your organization’s stories to enable listeners to connect your info with what they already know, you’re far more likely to build trust and rapport with them. In turn, this group relationship is most likely to be transformative, motivating their desire to take action, now and in the future, and to spread your stories/messages to friends and family.
How are you shaping your stories to motivate action? Please share yours if you think it’s working, or share your questions or challenges if you want some guidance.
Part 1: This is Getting in Your Way, Stories Will Help
Part 2: Six Story Types to Tell
Part 3: How to Tell Your Founding Story
Part 4: How to Tell Your Focus Story
Part 5: How to Tell Your Success Stories
Part 5 1/2: How to Tell Your Strength Story
Part 6: How to Tell Your People Stories
Part 7: How To Tell Your Future Story: Nonprofit Storytelling
Part 8: Shape Stories to Motivate Action
Part 9: How Story Trumps Description