The mind-influencing power of story-telling

Aug 23, 2015

It seems like the ‘in’ thing to talk about storytelling at the moment, and how powerful it can be as a communication tool. Well, enough of the theory, I am about to demonstrate one of the main reasons stories can have such an impact on your business message.

First I am going to tell you a story, and then I am going to ask you four questions. It is not the fact that you will probably only be able to answer two out of four questions that will surprise you… But rather an observation about the two questions that you will get right. Read on as I take you on a short journey to a far off land…

Once upon a time, in a land dominated by champions and divided by challenges; there lived a magnificent beast of extraordinary power, prowess, and potential. It was different from the other animals of that realm and carried within its heart an ancient heritage born from a charmed line.

This majestic, mystical animal spent its days soaring the harsh, rocky landscape below; seeking thermals to give it lift, clear skies to make the most of its pin-point, perfect vision, and food to maintain its strength. In flight it was a truly glorious creature; graceful, mighty, with speed in its wings, fire in its feathers and eyes set true and steadfast upon a prize of purest, brightest, richest gold… And it lived each day with a purpose born out of legacy and love.

Despite its attributes and heart, on this day it was simply a creature of humble, latent possibility. And while, when it spread its fabulous wings it could dominate any sky, overcome any obstacle and tackle any foe, its very survival was dependent one thing…

Now without re-reading the text (no cheating) answer the following four questions:

1. How did I describe the landscape?

2. Who dominated the land where the animal lived?

3. What sort of animal did the story describe?

4. Did the story describe a real-life or imaginary creature?

Unless you have something akin to a photographic memory, you probably won’t be able to answer the first two questions (I will give you the answers in a minute); but I reckon you’ll have a good shot at the second two.

The answers are as follows:

1. Harsh and Rocky

2. Champions

3. Bird (well done if you thought Phoenix)

4. Imaginary

So what is the point?

The interesting thing about this is that I never actually gave you any specific detail about the two questions you were able to answer – I merely implied them. Whereas the facts that I shared were easily lost in the noise. Powerful eh?

Stories are more memorable and share the power of your message far more than the facts… And, as a business, if you get your story right you will never need to tell people how great you are… they will just know!

Oh, and one more thing. I bet you are still wondering the one thing that the Phoenix’s survival depends on… Or can you guess?



Category: Storytelling

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