Storytelling; the key to connection.
Updated: Apr 9, 2021
I love stories.
Okay, you've probably guessed that already, am I right?
Storytelling is very much present in our everyday lives, more so than you probably realise, so let me take you back to where it all started for me; the public library. Positioned in a prime position in the centre of our little town, the swimming pool and iconic young-persons-hang-out-place/bus stop adjacent, it had impressive iron gates that opened to a winding path up to the large double doors. There was a remarkable Monkey Puzzle tree standing like a silent guardian of literature in the corner of the garden, and it was my favourite place to visit on a Saturday morning.
One such morning, after me, my mum and my brother had been for the dreaded "big shop" at the local Co-op, I remembering racing up that path desperate to check out my next good read from the children's corner. I don't recall the title, but the book had a purple cover, and as soon as we put that shopping away in the kitchen cupboards, I plonked myself down on the couch and started to read. It can't have been a long book as I finished it, cover to cover, before lunch and proceeded to beg my mum to take me back to the library before it closed at 1 pm to choose another novel for the week. She obliged, btw, and 20-something years later, I still haven't outgrown that thirst for the next chapter.
Although fiction is my one true love, not all stories are make-believe, nor are they only for children. We tell, hear, read and watch stories every single day.
"How was your day, dear?", "Well, you'll never guess what such-and-such said in the office today". Story.
"I think I would be great for the role of office manager because of such-and-such at my last job". Story.
"I went there on holiday, and there was this amazing little restaurant called such-and-such". Story.
As I said, we tell stories every day, but we don't realise that's what they are. For example, when I meet new people, I try to avoid the typical "what do you do for a living" question and instead ask them what hobbies they enjoy outside work. I tend to find that their answer is predominantly the facts and figures relating to their job title when asked about their job. However, when asked about something that they enjoy doing, they give you a story, perhaps about when they were ambushed by a pheasant on the golf course or galloped along a sunset beach on their horse. Stories make you connect with another person way more than facts do.
The same goes for businesses. A business with storytelling at the heart of its marketing strategy will have a much more significant impact on its ideal clients than one that chooses to regurgitate facts constantly. We as human beings crave connection, whether it's with other people, our pets, celebrities or even the brands we shop with. Businesses who connect make more sales.
Storytelling is the key to connection.