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Story-telling is an art. Research has found that the human brain is naturally attracted towards narrative tales. We tend to remember facts more when they are associated with a story. This makes stories vital to our lives and culture. If you come to think of it, we tell stories every day. When we meet someone new and introduce ourselves, we start by telling a little story about our self – who we are, to spark a connection.
We, as humans, are automatically drawn to stories as we try to interpret meaning in them to understand ourselves better. The more we see ourselves reflected in a story, the more we connect with it.
In today’s competitive market, we need stories to create a personal brand and stand out in the crowd. Be it writing a cover letter, college admission essay or doing well in an interview, story-telling is a critical skill. Here are five reasons why a good story teller has a better chance of success in life:
Stories help getting attention
In the age of distraction it is hard to get attention. But, even the busiest people will stop to listen to a story. Stories are the reason novels, movies and gossip magazines are so popular. They tend to touch our consciousness associated with memories. So, once you have captured someone’s attention with your story-telling, there are chances you will succeed in having them listen intently and remember what you have conveyed through your story.
Stories give meaning to data
For years people have passed on knowledge with the help of stories. Stories provide context to information. This helps us learn better as our mind becomes open to perceiving in new ways. About 70% of what we learn is through stories. This is why, journalists often use data to tell stories. Here’s a video.
Stories make people care
People interpret stories to find a connection. When a story reflects the pain, frustration or joys that they can relate to they begin to see themselves in it. More they identify with the emotions and experiences in a story more they begin to care about it. Thus, stories can be powerful motivators. An encouraging story has more chances of driving someone to act than constant persuasion.
Stories promote self-worth
Studies show that listening to a parent’s personal stories can boost the child’s self-esteem. It gives them a sense of who they are and where they came from. Our identities are constructed through stories. Stories of our family background, culture and personal experiences define who we are. They bring about a sense of belonging.
Stories provide a competitive advantage
Story-telling is a low-cost communication tool. They tend to be more effective than advertisements. A dynamic conversation with customers can fuel positive promotion. Politicians tell a lot of stories during their campaigns to connect with their voters and promote themselves. Businessmen tell stories of why and how they started their company to generate loyal customers and supporters.
Story-telling works wonders as a leadership tool. It’s part of our DNA to hear and tell stories. And we have thousands of years behind us to prove this. It’s persuasive and science provides hard evidence that this is one soft skill that must be developed at a very young age for a successful career and life.
Anindita Mondal is the author of The Little Book of Magical Tales. She is a freelance content writer and graphic designer.
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