I took a deep breath and braced myself for at least another five minutes of rambling through totally unnecessary details. Why? Well, to be brutally honest, because I know that my friend isn’t exactly the most engaging storyteller I’ve ever met—meaning it was going to take all of my attention and willpower to make it through her seemingly endless and impossible-to-follow tale of woe.
You’ve been there before, right? We’ve all experienced those moments when we’ve had to do our best to actively listen while someone’s droning his or her way through a story more long-winded than Moby Dick. And, what’s even worse than that? Being the person who’s rambling incessantly.
Let’s face it—we’re not all natural-born storytellers. But, that doesn’t mean we don’t run into a ton of different situations where we need to do just that. Whether you need to explain a time you overcame a challenge in a job interview or share a catchy personal anecdote at a networking event, we all run into those instances in which we need to craft a compelling narrative—preferably without our audience’s eyes glazing over.
So, how can you tell a story that’s interesting and engaging? Well, these five tips are a great place to start.
All of this chicanery aside…what’s important for us as writers and entrepreneurs etc. is to remember that having a comprehensive understanding of story structure is not just helpful for us as creators.
It’s an indispensable analytical tool to save us from charlatans.
When we understand story structure we are empowered to see through the hype and directly question the motivations of the messenger. Here’s the post again to walk you through why this advertisement set off my story alarms.
I asked TEDxKyoto founder Jay Klaphake which of the many good talks at TEDxKyoto was a great example of storytelling, he replied immediately that it was the 2014 talk by Sahel Rosa. Sahel’s presentation is a wonderful example of a presenter using their personal story to (1) shine a spotlight on a social issue, and (2) to make a pitch for people to support her cause.
Narrative medicine as a literary form that engages care providers including physicians to share their witnessed stories of humanity can be an instrumental tool to repeatedly resuscitate the physician. Relationship centered medicine has been considered a way to help doctors stay in love with doctoring and that premise is supported by narrative medicine to help refocus the efforts of medicine around relationships.
Pictures, not words, were the very first method with which humans recorded their history. Visuals capture more information in one shot than a book full of words because they allow you to fill in the story with your imagination.
A picture of a family playing catch in the park has billions of interpretations and plot lines that are waiting for a story to fill in the details.
Since Stranger Things debuted on Netflix, I've seen a number of articles and heard a few podcasts discuss the merits of an 8-episode season over the usual 13. When you think about shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones, there can be some filler that helps meet the quota. In this piece, Ben Bajarin takes a look at how Netflix and the concept of binge watching is changing how writers and directors tell stories. Bajarin makes the case that the future of entertainment is in fact storytelling as a service through things like original content and posting an entire season at once.
My father was a storyteller. It seemed that if he wasn’t telling a story, he hardly had anything to say. It was on his lap, by his side, sitting across from him at the table, listening to his stories that I learned how the world worked and how to understand people.
Stories not only help us make sense of the world; they help us define who we are. When we share our past with others, we link events together in a narrative — a story. My father had his story. I have mine. You have yours.
The media work with stories. Human brains are wired for stories. The ‘story’ is the basic building block of a newspaper, blog, magazine or broadcast. It’s their job to find and communicate stories, but if you understand what a story is and why it is so important you will find your media relations will be much more successful. Similarly, if you can learn to tell a good story, science says you can improve your blogs and marketing. But what is a story?
Our feelings (anger, shame, delight) appear almost instantly, and, left alone, they don’t last very long. But if we invent a narrative around an event or a person, we can keep the feeling going for a very long time
If the worst were to happen, are you prepared to act swiftly and protect yourself and your brand?
By understanding your message deeply and thoroughly, you can prepare for certain unpleasant situations. But more importantly, cultivating a corporate crisis management culture will help keep your story consistent and compelling.
Melissa Agnes is passionate about brand crisis management and prevention. She strongly encourages any organization to take the time to delve deep into their core values to learn how to best articulate and follow them. She also suggests a few simple questions to ask before ever launching a campaign or advertisement that might help avoid a crisis altogether.
Melissa takes us on a journey through her career, touching on what led her to this particular niche. She shares why it’s so important to deeply understand what your brand stands for, how speed and accuracy are paramount, and how owning your story and communicating directly will often save the day.
Visual storytelling is one of the most potent forms of communication in existence today. From films and virtual reality experiences to interactive games and data visualizations, visual stories are revolutionizing the way we persuade audiences with our messages.
While brands and marketers have generally lagged behind filmmakers and the media in the visual storytelling department, this is rapidly becoming a thing of the past as marketing shifts from “interrupting what people are interested into becoming what people are interested in,” in the words of Marriott’s VP of content marketing, David Beebe.
As the Internet of Things and wearable tech take us closer to a perpetually connected world, visual storytelling will be all around us. From having conversations with our favorite characters to playing games that will help feed the homeless, these visual storytelling trends will allow us to live within stories of our making and, in the process, blur the lines between reality and fiction.
Restrained only by the pace of technological innovation, here are five visual storytelling trends that will shape the future of all communication-related fields:
The reality is that you have six seconds to tell your brand story and make a connection with your customer. Yes, six seconds. A 6-second window to give your customers, your audience, a reason to care, and a reason to want to learn more about your offer. Success in those six seconds depends on the perceived value that your brand will bring to the customers’ lives: the “Why you do what you do.” This message needs to be always refined through the lens of simplicity, clarity and alignment; the three foundational pillars that a brand story absolutely must have to connect and engage with the customer.
You’ll see how the context, and some subtle changes, alter the emotional response you feel. This post showcases imagination - the readers imagination. How do you inspire imagination? Often by providing fewer details. With less detail, your reader has no choice but to let their imagination will fill in the gaps. Their experiences, emotional state, and passions add meaning to the image. When done right, those emotions can touch passions and strike up anxieties that compel action.
Akira Kurosawa was one of the masters of cinema. Below is a six-minute interview where Kurosawa offers advice to aspiring filmmakers, but the advice can be applied more widely to other creative disciplines as well.
Whether you know it or not, or intend to or not … you absolutely are.
Everything you do to market your business is another paragraph, page, or chapter in the story people hear from you. And the story people hear is the one they act (or don’t act) on, and repeat (or don’t repeat) to others.
Now, it’s not necessarily fatal if you’re not aware you’re telling a story, and you’ll never completely control your story anyway. But purposeful storytelling is the mark of the great novelist, screenwriter, and playwright — and purposeful marketing stories are a sure sign of a great content marketer.
So why not tell your story on purpose? Here’s how.
When you combine the timeless necessity of storytelling with the sheer power of visual content, you arrive at one of the most potent forces shaping the future of communication today: Visual storytelling.
Here are some of the trends I believe will shape the future of this field by blurring the lines between once-neatly-defined concepts.
Now with Instagram offering both long- and short-term content, newsrooms are rolling out different strategies for the two similar-but-distinct platforms. I talked with The New York Times, National Geographic, and Sports Illustrated — each known for striking photography and large Instagram followings — to understand how they are trying to make use of Instagram Stories for a new kind of visual narrative. Here, lightly edited, is what they had they say.
I've been waiting a long time to write this essay. I thought of it four or five years ago when I was writing a series of posts about natural storytelling. I never wrote the essay because other projects got in the way, but it has been at the back of my mind all this time. I'm excited to finally bring these thoughts to you.
Do you know who you are writing for? Do you have realistic expectations for the time it takes to build an audience? Are you able to focus your energies into one platform at a time? Are you really writing for your audience?
Joe Pulizzi is a content mastermind. He’s an author, speaker, and the founder of Content Marketing Institute, which publishes the Chief Content Officer magazine and produces the premier international event for content marketing: Content Marketing World.
Joe talks to us about the how to tune into and write for your audience instead of yourself, the time is takes to develop your brand, and the art of staying simple. He is always looking for that greater connection, saying, “what I want is something that’s really going to make an impact, that’s truly compelling.”
Gregg Morris's insight:
Thought this was going to be with Nancy Duarte when I read the headline. Nothing wrong with Bazooka Joe though. He's a might smart fella'!
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