We are all emotional beings. We react. We have feelings. People connect to emotion. If they feel something, they are more likely to respond. When we tell stories driven by our own motivational and memorable intent, people feel something; stories allow people to believe in you.
Storytelling appeals to thought processes and intellect
There’s some real scientific basis for my complete belief in the power of storytelling. There are seven (yes, seven) areas of your brain that are stimulated by stories. These are the parts of your brain that respond to sounds, smells, language processing of the words that are heard, the comprehension of those words, movement, touch, and finally colours and shapes.
So when you talk about what you’ve seen, heard, felt, or even smelled, your listeners can see, hear, feel, and smell those things too. When you share a story that has meaning for you, they can walk where you have walked. And what could be more effective than that to really convey who you are and what you are really all about?
You give your audience a chance to really get inside your heart and your head. That’s the connection you need.
Andrew was about to talk to his senior management team
Andrew was so tired of feeling like they didn’t understand him. He wanted them to beleive in him. He wanted them understand why he wanted the business to reach a hundred-million-pound turnover in three years.
Andrew decided to identify an emotive-intent for his presentation. He decided to talk to them ‘carrying’ emotion and holding onto this emotion throughout the time he was speaking to them.
The feedback Andrew received was unprecedented. But more importantly, Andrew felt that he was living like the leader he knew he was meant to be.
Andrew used an emotion which he chose, an appropriate, emotive-intent to drive the way in which he was going to be for the entire time he spoke. He decided on the level of intensity. His storytelling was compelling. He owned not only the stuff he was talking about, but why he was talking about it and the feelings he wanted others to experience from him. They believed in him.
Start to do away with what you think you should be experiencing
Andrew opened his heart to what he wanted to feel when storytelling. When speaking. He still presented the data. He used everyday stories and stories from his River of Life which made him feel things a little more.
Andrew connected to what he was saying, and he tapped into the right brain of his listeners, the part of the brain that’s all about imagination, feeling, creativity, excitement etc.
Don’t deny your emotions! Don’t let your storytelling, your talks and engagements, your communications be devoid of emotion. Life is full of ups and downs. Live it. Warts and all.
Our stories allow us to develop habits to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be. Storytelling is the most effective way to merge meaning and emotions so that others believe in you.
The Practice: Self-Reflection (so others believe in you)
Each week, I ask myself these questions to help stay true to my ever-unfolding story, and who I know I am. I suggest building a weekly practice of self-reflection using these questions. Add your own as you discover the right questions for you. Your aim is for others to believe you.
- How do I want to show up this week? Then, before each interaction with someone, identify an intent and observe myself in action.
- What is my story? Discover your story using the River of Life exercise. And build and bank of everyday stories to use.
- What emotion-filled storytelling have I brought to bear? Which have been useful and in what way?
- What have I done this week to help me realise my story?
- Everyday, I grateful for what?
- What could I do to improve?
- And what have I done well and therefore should do more of?