Storytelling is an art many leaders fail to grasp – not so for Charity: Water’s CEO

Image: Charity: Water

The science of crafting a story

Imagine that creating an interactive story is like crafting a good joke. Your story should consist of description, anticipation and a killer punchline; this is the natural call to action for your audience, asking others to share an experience. Science, in fact, has proven how effective the components to a good story can be.

Scholars at Princeton ran an experiment on the power of storytelling. A woman was placed in an MRI machine and asked to read the same story – first in English and then in Russian. The story was recorded onto a computer and her brain scans analysed.

In a separate setting, a group of English-speaking volunteers listened to each story, while also hooked up to an MRI machine. When listening to the English version, every single person’s brain activity synchronised with that of the speakers, but, switch to Russian, and this “brain coupling” disappears.

The results conclusively show that effective, emotional storytelling will align complex brain and thought patterns, which means each “individual” becomes part of a collective whole that shares the same experiences.

Image: Esther Havens

This concept is central to Harrison’s success. His story was so compelling and so moving that when he spoke to people about what he had seen in Africa, every single person could understand his plight and wanted to join him on his shared journey. It should be a basic-taught principle in business schools across the globe that the craft of storytelling is often a crucial decider in the success or failure of your business venture.

Tell your story

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, an established marketing professional or working at the local newsagents, if you have a goal and a vision to see your dream through to fruition then anything is possible. By fusing elements of storytelling into your narrative, you give yourself a much better chance at captivating the minds of others.

We’re all surrounded by stories. In fact, our lives are nothing more than a string of stories woven together by that magical mistress we call time. Once you realise the power inherent in effective storytelling, you have the potential to revolutionise the way you recruit talent, develop your business and shape the world.

So, tell me… what’s your story?

Bryan Adams is the CEO and founder of digital marketing agency Ph.Creative

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