Communication continually adapts –spoken language turns into slang, written language becomes sound bites and texts. But despite change, there’s something universal about storytelling. What draws us back to stories – no matter the medium?
The simple answer is that stories compel. We remember good ones. They make us think, or at the very least, they help us understand.
Storytelling is a tool of Dramatic Simplicity™ – a way to make the simple remarkable. Take this quote*, for example: “A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of all the fauna and flora of a town.” It is the relationship of the bird to man that captivates the reader. But why? Is it the bird’s environment? How it finds resources or shelter? Does the man follow the bird through its entire life pattern? The story of the man and the bird tells us something about the man himself – how he perceives the world and those around him.
The quote illustrates the power of storytelling, because the metaphor of the bird makes the concept tangible. We understand the meaning on impulse, no explanation required.
The aim of communication is to spread an idea, and to have people understand that idea. If your idea is not known and understood by your audience – be it a philosophy, a feeling, or a brand – it will be forgotten. Great storytelling ensures it is remembered.
*Henry David Thoreau