Why you have to tell more stories

Why you have to tell more stories

When I first started blogging, I wrote dry information-packed articles.

They had titles like “Behavior Design 101” and were filled with bulleted lists.

I worked hard on these pieces and was convinced that they would blow up.

They didn’t.

In hindsight, I was being silly. The fact of the matter is that most of us don’t like reading “how to” or conceptual material. It bores us.

We either save it for later as a tab in our browser or, if we think it looks useful, re-share it to our friends on Facebook (or LinkedIn).

But rarely do we read and absorb the material contained within.

It’s just too… abstract. It’s hard to pay attention to and it’s hard to encode. It makes us strain and think too much. It’s unpleasant.

And the data on what people read bear this out. If you look at the GoodReads list of most-read books, you’ll notice something: all of the books are story-based.

Every book is a piece of fiction or a memoir.

The fact of the matter is: we’re story-obsessed beings.

We love telling them. We love hearing them.

And when lessons or concepts are woven into stories, we remember them a whole lot better.

There’s a reason that stories were the primary mode of information transmission for most of human history.

According to an article that someone sent me today, stories increase how memorable a message is by ~20% (and how convincing it is by ~35%). While I’m a bit skeptical of those specific numbers, and would like to see how the researchers came up with them, they’re in-line with what we know about the mind.

So if you want to give a great presentation, or write an article that people will enjoy and remember, tell a story. Create a narrative.

Your audience (and your career) will thank you.