• Alex de Jong

Why you need Strategic Storytelling?

How we craft stories that speak to hearts and minds.

You have the most amazing and incredible story. Perhaps it's about your entrepreneurial journey; the time you met the love of your life at Starbucks, or that time you averted a nuclear disaster by climbing a mountain atop a bear where a supervillian was hiding and took out all his henchmen.

Despite your passion, your audience looks like this...

What's wrong with your story? Is it the audience's fault? Why are their heads stuck in their phone?

Perhaps, you need a strategy...

First things first

No one cares about your story, it's not as meaningful or as important as you think it is, so put it off its pedestal.

The belief that you have an incredible, awe-inspiring, magical story is an ego-driven decision.

Now that you've come to that realisation, here are a few things that people actually care about:

  1. Their story

  2. How they feel

  3. Thoughts swimming round in their heads

Everyone has a story

Everyone has their own story, feelings and a myriad of thoughts swimming in their heads.

Your story isn't that important to them because they have their own tale of mountain-climbing, villian-killing, bear-riding.

However, because they care about their story, their feelings and thoughts; it means they care about where your story intersects with their own personal narrative.

#nutshell: Strategic Storytelling is the intersection of two people's narratives at the right time and right place, creating a strong bond and emotional connection.

Let's get emotional

#truth: Connection is the most important thing in life!

Discovering, nurturing and strengthening deep and meaningful relationships with other people is the driver for a large amount of our time on this planet.

Connection with other people is an entirely feelings-based phenomenon #Example:

You have a crush on that guy because of how you feel when he smiles at you, sends you a funny message or says he'll call you leaving you in anticipation.

Connection happened because two people's personal stories collided and became congruent leading to shared stories and emotions that we build together. We're on the same emotional wavelength #awesome!

You no longer have a crush on that same guy because of how you feel when he forgot to call, tried to weasel his way out with a pathetic excuse and left you waiting.

Disconnection happened because personal stories diverged and we aren't on the same emotional wavelength #notsoawesome! Why? Because of those pesky thoughts swimming around in our heads.

What's on your mind? #exercise: Grab a pen, some paper, close your eyes right now and ask yourself:

"What am I thinking about?"

Now write this down and don't stop until you've got all those thoughts on a paper.

Congratulations! You've just done a Thoughtdump.

A #thoughtdump is my term for becoming aware of thoughts and dumping them on a piece of paper. It's an exercise I do every morning, often before mediating.

Look at that list... You probably came up with a few things you were thinking about that weren't consciously on your mind before.

#guesswhat? That piece of paper doesn't even cover 0.01% of the thoughts currently in your head. It doesn't even scratch the tip of the iceberg, that paper is the one molecule of H2O on a gigantic Titantic-sinking iceberg.

Millions of chemical reactions are taking place in your brain every single second. Untold amounts of neurotransmitters are currently being fired between your neurons directly causing those thoughts and feelings. On a long enough timescale these give rise to our personal stories, effectively stored memories.

I'm no neuroscientist. I'm not going to try and impress you by dropping #knowledgebombs about the brain that I've Googled several seconds before writing this sentence and pass it off as my own.

The point is that we think a lot. If someone is preoccupied with their wife, father or lovechild being in bed ill, they won't give a damn about your story of stabbing Ragnor Bloodgood atop your trusty bear then disabling the nuclear launch codes with 27 seconds left.

However, if the story is about how Ragnor Bloodgood is in bed recovering from his illness and your audience consists of people with loved ones currently lying in bed ill... They're going to #BuyIn to your story.

You need them to "buy in" to your story

Remember that crush who crushed your heart by forgetting to call... yeah, that asshole.

You didn't buy into his pathetic story about how he didn't call because he was busy climbing a mountain averting a nuclear holocaust, because he's completely stuck in his own head and not on the same wavelength as you.

He completely and utterly forgot, but instead of coming clean with the truth, he made up a bullshit story.

That guy is a complete sell out because of the bullshit fantasy story that exists in his own head. Whereas, strategic stories generate buy in precisely because they are entirely about the audience's thoughts, emotions and stories and not the person telling it.

Buy in happens when your default brain mode network (yes, I just Googled this to make this post sound more intelligent #ethos) becomes more active, which according to this person and these people who actually are neuroscientists, happens when we listen to stories.

Telling a tale

Strategic stories create buy in because it's not about the speaker and their story that they're spinning and selling...

Strategic stories are fundamentally about the audience members who listen and feel that the story intersects with their own personal narrative.

Strategic stories aren't warped fantasies that bear... sorry bare no relevance to our lives...

Strategic stories are positioned at the ideal time and place for us to hear them, so that we feel that:

"This storyteller understands me and what I'm going through."

The storyteller can relate to our inner thoughts and creates an emotional connection with us. That's why empathy is the #heart of strategic storytelling!

Would you like to get outside of your head and tell business or personal stories that create a buy in and relate to your audiences needs? Then speakwith@alex-dejong.com and we'll craft a compelling story together.