Tell “Em a Story

 In Blog

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, meaning it was a perfectly sunny, 75-degree Southern California day. The windows were open, the smell of jasmine drifted in through the windows, and even though Covid 19 was and still is the news of the day, all I had on my mind was relaxing and doing a little work around my sanctuary. What could possibly go wrong?

Stories are as old as time.

Thousands of years ago people gathered around campfires and shared stories of their struggles and triumphs. Now scientists tell us that the human brain is wired to connect with stories. Researchers at UC Berkeley and many studies reveal that well-told stories activate mirror neurons in listeners that create mental pictures causing them to experience the story.

Media storytelling is a learned process. The Randy Lane Company coaches talent to perfect the art of storytelling because captivating stories induce the audience to lean in and listen.

We hold entire seminars on storytelling, because of the powerful inclusion and connection they create, and I am always interested in learning more about what makes a story great. I recently reread The Power of Storytelling by Ty Bennett. Many of the nuggets from the book line up perfectly with our storytelling principles.

An effective set up includes details of place, time, mood and purpose. Hook your listeners with a relatable headline. Allude to the conflict by setting up the question: what’s at stake? With enough sensory details and likable characters, the mental movie starts playing. Now they’re on board!

Rising Action/Turning Point
Whether your story is a drama or a comedy, escalating conflict is key. Maintain the tension so that your listeners lean in to hear more.

I felt good as I headed down the dark stairs, my arms cradling several items. I was daydreaming about heading out for a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains. Suddenly, my bare foot slipped on the new carpet. I began frantically juggling several items at once. A gallon of Clorox hit the stairs, the cap flew off and a fountain of bleach erupted, hitting me squarely in the eyes. Blinded and in pain, I started cussing and yelling.

My wife JoAnn ran in from the other room and led me to the bathroom where we flushed my eyes for several minutes and considered an emergency room visit. We noticed my new shorts and tee shirt now sported huge white circles. We looked at each other and had the same thought: the newly carpeted stairs!

Woefully, we looked down into the short stairway leading to the garage. Hugh white circles were forming on every step.

This is where you wrap it up! What happened after the action? Resolutions can be an invitation to your listeners to share similar stories. When did you accidentally destroy something in your home? It could also teach a lesson (no more bleach in my house) or a call to action (only Eco-friendly cleaners from now on!).

Photo by Mike Erskine on Unsplash

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