THE CATALYST: The Art of Storytelling

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By Felix C. Veroya

When I was a kid, I am amazed of the stories my grandfather used to tell after we finished dinner and before bedtime. These are not famous fairytales or fables but more of comic ones drawn from his experience. I really love stories and I know you love them, too. Right?

Did you know that 92% of consumers want brands to make ads that feel like a story? This is based on a consumer survey conducted two (2) years ago. This is how powerful the art of storytelling is. Based on the National Storytelling Network, storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the listener’s imagination.

Further, most of the published articles and references will expound storytelling as follows:

  • Storytelling is interactive.
  • Storytelling uses words.
  • Storytelling uses actions such as vocalization, physical movement and/or gesture.
  • Storytelling presents a story.
  • Storytelling encourages the active imagination of the listeners.

Storytelling matters.

Messages delivered as stories are up to 22 times more memorable that just facts. Facts can be great reinforcement to a powerful story. Not everyone is fond of numbers and such but most of your audience is thrilled to hear a story.

This is the reason that when you try to present an idea or pitch a business or speak in a public, you must use the art of storytelling. Below are some steps that you can try out when applying storytelling to your act.

  1. Create a Relatable Character. Create a relatable character that’ll make it easy for potential investors to get emotionally invested in your pitch. The character can be real or a hypothetical, but it needs to be relatable and likeable.
  2. Take Your Audience on a Journey. Start with how you discovered the problem. Introduce your character and paint a picture of how their usual day looks like. What does the character do? What problems does he face? Paint a vivid picture of how the characters’ life looks like if they don’t act. Then, transition into the solution by sharing the after picture and how the character will feel once the problem is solved.
  3. Get Inside the Audience’s Minds. Once you’ve narrowed down your character and got clear on the story, it’s time to think like your target audience. Profiling your audience before your pitch or talk or report would help you better prepare your material and your message delivery. By getting inside their minds and thinking like your audience, you’ll be able to write your story in a way that addresses their immediate concerns and overcomes potential objections.
  4. Create an Outline and Structure. Depending on the requirement of your task, make sure that you have prepared an outline of the topics to be covered and put a basic structure of the opening, body and closing.  Be mindful of the time allocation for each topic to fit in the required time to for you to present or speak or pitch.
  5. Write and Format the Deck. Keep in mind that long paragraphs and walls of text are more likely to bore the audience and result in losing their attention and interest. Use images to create an emotional connection with your character, to present your team members, and to share testimonials or case studies from current customers and clients. Stick to short sentences and use lists to introduce key concepts. Use a larger font size to make sure everyone can read the text. Stick to one or two fonts and make sure they’re legible. Make sure you only present one idea per slide to avoid overwhelm and confusion.

Aside from preparing your material and outline, it is also important that you get an actual tip for delivering what you prepared. Make sure to communicate clearly, telegraph credibility and most importantly, practice!

I hope you will appreciate the power and art of storytelling and how it helped me achieve my objectives both personally and professionally.

Let’s continue to be #significantlybetterlifelonglearners, together!

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