“Storytelling offers the opportunity to talk with your audience, not at them.” ― Laura Holloway
The vivid portrayal of ideas, beliefs, personal experiences, and life lessons through stories or narratives that provoke powerful human emotions and insights is termed storytelling.
When I think about the most well-known cinematic experience that made storytelling more than just a pastime, I revisit the scenes of “Tamasha.” The protagonist, who was inspired by storytelling from his childhood days and went on to become a renowned storyteller and stage performer, was the plot of the movie. Is story-telling, however, limited to the artists, performers, or an individual from a certain artistic domain? The answer is a conclusive ‘No.’ The world’s most successful people have always been the best storytellers.
Art, poetry, writing, and stage performance are not the only forms of storytelling. In any aspect of life, whether it’s business, sports, politics, or a classroom lecture, storytelling is always useful for conveying our emotions, ideas, solidifying complicated notions, and simplifying complex messages.
What are some real-life examples of how storytelling has led the way to success? Consider how Steve Jobs explained the world when he debuted the Macintosh, and how Apple envisions changing the world after this product, and the result is right in front of us. Apple Inc. is now one of the most successful innovative companies in human history. Whether you’re talking about Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandberg, MS Dhoni, or Oprah Winfrey, one thing they all have in common is that they’re all fantastic storytellers.
A great storyteller is the essence of a successful marketer, the one who understands the connection between the brand and the users when we talk about a successful marketing strategy. One of the most important aspects of successful branding is how you treat clients as the primary players of the story, with the brand acting as a supporting character in order to establish a long-term relationship. We don’t sell stuff; we sell experiences, as the saying goes.
For example, if you’re launching a campaign to sell the new sports equipment for the athlete community, a great storyteller will emphasize why the equipment is needed and what long-term influence it will have on the athletes’ community and their performance.
National Geographic is one of the best examples of using storytelling to build brand recognition. They perform a fantastic job with their social media branding approach by incorporating storytelling. National Geographic uses bright, exciting, and wild photos to attract the user’s attention, but it is when they combine those stunning sights with the fascinating narratives that a user is compelled to return again and again to relive those human emotions and connections.
Therefore, what does it take to be an effective storyteller, and how can you communicate your stories effectively? It’s very crucial to recognize who your target audience is. Who wants to hear your story? Imagine how you’d be able to make the story more personal for each of them. As a result, before you put ink on the page, make sure you know who will be reading or listening to you. For example, if you’re telling an intriguing story, attempt to build dramatic tension and suspense up to the conclusion of your story. Personalization of experiences has a bigger influence on the audience, and as a speaker, you may always draw inspiration from your own life while creating fresh stories. It is always good to narrate your words using a personal experience, whether or not you are delivering a true story directly based on a personal event.
What is the significance of this entire process? Because you, as a company, a brand, or an individual, are likely to have numerous facts, figures, and messages, the delivery of your message is critical to avoid monotony and bored faces. Engagement with the audience, studying other storytellers, and how you narrow down the spectrum of interpretation by the audience, particularly when relaying your real-life experiences, are all important parts of successful storytelling. Great storytelling necessitates maintaining eye contact with your audience, engaging them, asking them questions, and inviting them to be part of the ongoing conversation. Is it possible that you’re unfolding too much? Is it overly detailed and focused on figures? As a great storyteller, it’s your job to keep your words short and crisp, with fewer details, and to focus on the elements that make your audience want to listen more. Trusting that your audience will be able to follow your story and not overwhelming them with superfluous backstory or digressive plot pieces will keep them wanting more.
Storytelling is an art form, yet it is not limited to artists. It’s just a technique to learn an effective way to communicate with your audience now, whether it’s a group of friends, a gala, an investors summit, or thousands of sports fans waiting to hear you after a heartbreaking loss, your story determines how well you’ll be remembered when they return home.
Next time, when you experience a great story, imagine yourself in the speaker’s shoes and think about how it is a pure form of art, not limited to artists. It’s just a technique where you learn a way of using your imagination to effectively communicate with your audience, whether it’s a group of friends, a gala, an investors summit, or thousands of sports fans waiting to hear you after a heartbreaking loss. Your story determines how well you’ll be remembered when they return home.
About the author
Shubham Kumar is a first-year MBA student at IIM Kashipur from batch 2021-23. He is a commerce graduate from the University of Delhi. He has actively engaged in the Media and Public Relations Committee at IIM Kashipur. He is a creative content creator and loves watching Football during the weekend. You can find him on LinkedIn.