Three Laws and Techniques of Storytelling

Storytelling is as old as the road to Rome and probably a lot older. It is an increasingly popular name for nothing more than telling a good story. Storytelling is actually a rediscovery of the power of fairy tale telling; only now on the basis of neurological research that explains why telling good stories is such a powerful means of conveying a certain message and influencing people and in thinking and acting.

Fairytales were and are a powerful way to convey a certain message and make it last. In the fairy tale ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’, a little boy is the only one who sees that the emperor did not wear fancy clothes but simply walked down the street in his naked hole. The fairytale was written by Hans Christiaan Andersen.

One of the effects of fairy tale telling is that the message lingers for a long time; for a long time! It took a while, but now the business community is slowly but surely recognizing that if you want a message to stick around for a long time, the best way to do this is to tell a story. Nowadays this has ‘storytelling’ in good Dutch. Because images and videos can also help in this endeavor, video clips that find their way to the public via YouTube and social media are passionately used.

What is the effect of ‘storytelling’?
According to NonFiction Ghostwriting, The business world uses storytelling to evoke emotions that prompt certain actions. Nowadays stories are often woven into advertising on TV or viral via YouTube and social media. The new thing about this way of marketing companies is that no direct attention is drawn to the product or service, but that this is more indirect by telling a fun, exciting or moving story. In short, the effect that storytelling aims for is to appeal to emotional aspects.

Examples
Do you still pay attention to the offers from Jumbo or do you just like the Doorsnee family that has been present for years because their stories are contagious? Which scenes can you still remember?

Many retail chains use ‘storytelling’ to emotionally bind potential customers, but business service providers in particular still have difficulty with this. They do not have a physical product that they believe cannot be linked to a story or that can be captured in a video film such as ‘How it is made’. How can this group use ‘storytelling’ to convey the message they want to convey and make it last?

Today, conventional advertising messages are actually believed by only about 14% of recipients. Banks, insurance companies, and other business service providers are mainly to blame for this because their advertising messages have been shown to regularly violate the truth and continue to do so. A short story, with a moral, lingers longer because it is based on mainly human aspects of life. That is the reason that artificial and whipped images, which come to us through the usual advertisements, miss the mark.

Storytelling is an effective marketing strategy
When you are faced with thousands of commercials every day, it is impossible to remember them all; if you wanted to. Due to the increasing amount of information with which we are bombarded via social media, professional networks, newsletters, e-mail campaigns, it is logical that we will build in filters. One of those filters is that if something is recognized as an ad, the message is quickly removed or ignored. However, if a story is told whose first lines catch us because of its natural and human aspects, we may read on. The message sticks better; especially if a cause and effect are included. Moreover, the story is punctuated in sentences that are not too long and with simple but catchy examples, then you have an effective marketing strategy. This can be in words but also in images. Your message then symbolizes a photo of a large square with thousands of people in gray suits with 1 person in between with a yellow cardigan. It immediately stands out from the crowd. You achieve the same effect with storytelling. It deviates from the standard advertising messages that often seem completely unbelievable at the base. Through storytelling you clearly distance yourself from this and it is also possible to draw more attention to yourself, your product or service, at significantly lower costs. It immediately stands out from the crowd. You achieve the same effect with storytelling. It deviates from the standard advertising messages that often seem completely unbelievable at the base. Through storytelling you clearly distance yourself from this and it is also possible to draw more attention to yourself, your product or service, at significantly lower costs. It immediately stands out from the crowd. You achieve the same effect with storytelling. It deviates from the standard advertising messages that often seem completely unbelievable at the base. Through storytelling you clearly distance yourself from this and it is possible to draw more attention to yourself, your product or service, at significantly lower costs.

Nothing New Under the Sun
Storytelling is as old as the road to Rome or even older. Before the printing press was invented and people could not all read and write, people told each other stories to preserve memories, to pass on knowledge and experiences or just to amuse each other with a good story; really happened or made up. Stories connect, they appeal to something that people have in common. It uses the principles of human science that the poles of the same name attract and connect each other. The lesson you can learn from this is simple; tell stories that your customers experience as recognizable and binding.

I wrote earlier that companies and self-employed people should stop praising themselves because they do not make themselves more credible. Have you ever read messages on websites and social media such as: ‘We are bad, we provide the lowest service, we are customer-unfriendly or, we absolutely do not understand our customers’? Probably not. People call themselves expert, guru, the best, the greatest, the fastest, etc. Well what? If you keep repeating nonsense long enough, it won’t become the truth, even though many companies think so. Banks, insurance companies and Booking.com come first!

The 3 laws of ‘storytelling’
Storytelling has some ‘laws’ that you must adhere to in order to use it successfully. Those three laws are:

Law 1. Stories contain emotions (passion, enthusiasm) that people recognize from their own experience! In this way you penetrate, as it were, into the memory of your customers and direct contact is made.
Law 2. Stories do not contain figures or statistics about your company, product or service, based on Law 1. Passion is more important than logic or ethics.
Law 3. Stories contain news! Believe it or not, people are programmed to take in new things and are constantly looking for them. Via storytelling you therefore share a new element of your products / services or tell it in a new way!

These laws include some techniques that can help get the message stuck.

Technique 1:   Come up with a catchy opening for your story. Learn from the newspapers. They come with a header that invites you to read on. Just check the texts used on Twitter, Facebook, the updates on LinkedIn or Instagram.

Technique 2:   Speak visually; call up images, demonstrate something or show images. Not in the form of a PowerPoint / Keynote, because everyone already does. Use a so-called prop.

Example:
For years I used during my spreekbeurte n a rubber chicken. I held it in hand, waved it to back up my words, but never told me why I had that chicken in my hands. This is what is called ‘suspense’ in English; hold attention by not explaining something! If you cannot avoid visualizing via a PowerPoint, include mainly 1 image per slide and preferably no or very little text. After all, doesn’t a picture already tell a thousand words?

Technique 3:  Count to 3! All kinds of tests have shown that people have the greatest difficulty in holding 9-digit combinations in their short working memory. Just take a look at MAX’s memory game. (The TV channel) Remembering three things is a
lot easier and it is therefore wise that you focus on a maximum of 3 points of attention when you are storytelling.

Conclusion
Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to engage your customers and prospects through sharing authentic, human experiences. Storytelling not only helps to underline your expertise, but also to increase your credibility.

If you have not started with storytelling before, it might be wise to develop skills in this via a workshop so that you can later successfully use storytelling for your website, newsletters, messages on social media or speaking engagements and presentations. If you don’t have time for this, you can of course outsource the work to a professional in this area. Whatever you do, never forget to regularly measure the results of your efforts by asking for feedback. Google Analytics, Adwords or other measurement and marketing instruments are perfectly suitable for this.

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