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The Cult of Storytelling

Who made the call that everything needs to be somehow fitted into a storytelling framework? That every single piece of information needs to be decorated with an emotional anecdote from our childhood?

These are just two of the many consequences of the Cult of Storytelling that we witness as soon as we fire up any social media. And it’s caused by a profound misunderstanding about the power of storytelling:

It’s not the story that we tell that gets us the impact, it’s the story that’s triggered in our audience’s minds that makes the impact.

And that’s a huge difference. Most importantly, for some people, these “internal” stories are triggered by a single number that we mention or a familiar situation that we reference with a simple statement (”Remember the iPhone keynote?”). These things can trigger a whole suite of stories in our audience’s minds. On the other hand, full blown “storytelling” stories might not trigger anything at all for some people as they just don’t resonate with our childhood stories, so it has no effect whatsoever on them.

Rather than fit everything into a storytelling framework, the more useful question to ask is: How can we trigger the right stories in our audience’s minds?

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