Primary Blog/Communication & Public Speaking/3 Brain Hacks on How to Be a Good Story Teller

3 Brain Hacks on How to Be a Good Story Teller

Friday, May 05, 2023

Are you somebody who has a great idea but can’t seem to articulate it in a way that makes others in the workplace get on board? Do you tend to stumble when you’re trying to tell a team why something is so important to you, and they don’t seem to grasp the idea?

Most people have been in a conversation at work where they know they have something great to offer and they want to get the decision makers to buy into their idea or at least consider their recommendations.

Common challenges that professionals confront in the workplace include:

  • ​Not being able to convey the value in a way that the decision makers can see and experience
  • Exclusion from key opportunities to become more visible at the executive level
  • Mismatch between one’s internal confidence or clarity of the message and the way the message comes out when expressed

One of the most predictable and dependable ways to connect with other people is to tell a story. The way to communicate ideas to other professionals is to translate those ideas to a story.

Becoming a skilled storyteller empowers you with a replicable methodology to relate to people in meaningful ways. While many people approach telling a story as relaying a sequence of events in chronological order, this is a mistake. Telling a story as a step-by-step recollection of what happened does not convey the real meaning or value that you need others to recognize.

Let’s understand how powerful a story is to communicate ideas. Our ability to be persuasive is correlated to our ability to tell a good story. Humans have been sold or convinced through stories since the beginning of time. Our very nature is to be captivated by a great story. Stories are the very foundation of centuries-old myths, blockbuster Hollywood movies, and notable books. Captivating stories are the way great authors, directors and thinkers connect with their audience.

The power of stories directly connects to the chemicals released in the brain when we hear them. When you tell a great story, and you do it the right way, the story solicits a cocktail of neurochemicals in the listener’s mind that have a very powerful effect on the brain.

The first neurochemical is cortisol, which is the chemical released in response to stress. This hormone is released in response to problems or pain we want to avoid. The second is dopamine, the “pleasure chemical,” released when we experience a highly pleasurable event. The third is oxytocin, known as the “empathy hormone.” Oxytocin influences our social responses, so when we relate to a person in a story, we can have feelings of bonding, trust and even love.

The following three hacks will help you create stories that release this powerful cocktail of neurochemicals in your audience’s mind.

1. Identify a Character That Creates Resonance

The character is the protagonist of a story. In the beginning of every story, the protagonist sets out to achieve a goal that is meaningful to them. So while the main character may not be achieving the same goal as the listener, you can tell the story so the character is likable. Often the protagonist in the story will be you. When you tell the story, shape that character to show common concerns, common struggles or a common mission that the listener will be able to relate to. When you identify a character that creates resonance in this way, your listener’s brain releases oxytocin.

2. An Antagonist That Creates Enmity

Along any protagonist’s journey, there will be setbacks and challenges, and a roller coaster of emotions. The reason why movies succeed at the box office is because there are antagonists, which present an obstacle for the character to overcome. During any great story, there will be real events that challenge the main character’s abilities or competencies. These are often not resolved without a roller coaster of emotions, where the character thinks they’ve overcome the antagonist, then new problems arise. Consistently the antagonist presents a challenge in the center of the story. The antagonist might be another person, but it could also be a concept or an idea in opposition to the protagonist’s goals. It may even be an organization. A powerful antagonist in a story is indeed the way to release cortisol in the brain.

3. An Outcome That Creates Hope

Hope is more than a wish: It is a well-founded expectation of the future. When you create hope in your audience, you allow them to experience the possibility of a future that they desire. Hope remains the residual emotion that they feel. And this residual emotion they feel is boosted by dopamine released in the brain. This pleasurable feeling of hope is the greatest driving force in the influence of the story you tell.

If you’re serious about becoming a great executive leader who can persuade and convince an audience, you can learn to implement these three hacks to make your stories compelling. Your audience will experience resonance with a character and a challenge they can identify with. Then you’ll lead them to experience pleasure as that character overcomes the antagonist, and they’re left with the positive “up” feeling of hope. In taking listeners through this journey, you’ll learn to be persuasive so others will want to listen, buy into what you are saying and act on your ideas.

If you’d love to learn how to put the principles covered in this blog into action, join me in my executive coaching program where I’ll introduce you to a powerful self- and career-development process.

This is an implementation-to-results program for growth-oriented executives who seek greater career fulfillment through becoming a more skilled version of themselves. It is designed to help you master your mind, develop deeper insights, elevate your communication skills, and become inspired in your career growth.

If you’d love to find out how my methodology can help you with your career goals, apply HEREfor an opportunity to work with me.

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© Mastery Insights Inc. All Rights Reserved