Stories. Hmmm. Exactly why are they so powerful? Why are they such a perfect tool for speakers, trainers, and presenters?
We learn about the importance of the use of stories in presentations from great speaking coaches like Bill Gove, Craig Valentine, and Patricia Fripp. Have you ever asked yourself, “Why?”
As children, we loved to hear stories! Have you ever had a child, just before bedtime ask, “Mommy, Daddy would you show me a PowerPoint presentation?” No. They ask, “Would you tell me a story?”
Early in our development, we became accustomed to learning through stories. We create deep grooves in our brains to allow well-told stories to get to our subconscious minds. It was our preferred method of digesting knowledge. As we’ve grown older, that never really changed. While we may enjoy learning the abstract via statistics and a good graph, those methods remain a distant second to a poignant story well-told. (Many stories are not well-told, that is why many are boring.)
In a previous article, or if you’ve seen me speak live, you heard about an “Ah-ha moment” I had while working with my Life Coach, Dawn Nocera. Actually, I had two Ah-ha moments during that conversation. The second one was about the power of stories. Dawn reminded me that:
“Stories open your subconscious mind,
so the lesson can sink in; and you
can easily absorb the information.”
Do you know a great teacher or leader? He or she is probably a great storyteller!
I have read a lot about the subconscious mind, and it’s just making more and more sense. The conscious mind is what we know or have heard. The subconscious mind is much more powerful. It’s what controls our actions. That being the case, if we speakers are to make lasting change in audience members, we must get our message into their subconscious minds. She told me, “An aha is the letting go of a previous belief.” Brilliant. Absorb that!
Let’s face it, we can all be “thick headed.” We’d all like to think we can hear words of wisdom once, and “get it,” right? I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve had to hear certain messages before it really “sank in.” Dan Kennedy, says, “We are egotistical to think that audience members can hear us once and walk away with permanent change.”
That’s why we need repetitive refrains to get our messages deeper into the subconscious minds of the audience. That’s why infomercials have the same message three times in a half hour, even if each one is said a little differently. When Craig Valentine and I created the Own The Stage program, we designed it to contain the same education on DVDs and Audio CDs. First, on DVDs because advanced speaking techniques must be learned through a visual medium. The videos and MP3s are for the convenience of listening in your car so that you can reinforce the message until it sinks in and creates a permanent change. That is why I also created my program Get More Laughs By Next Week® the same way… to help students of humor get a new perspective into their subconscious minds.
Dawn also said:
“Stories create change, without pain!”
Stories occupy our conscious mind, while the real message slips unknowingly into the subconscious mind. That’s also why dialogue is more powerful than narration. Dialogue brings us deeper into the scene, watching it happen. This opens up the subconscious even more. Narration, on the other hand, is “telling us what happened” back then. It’s not nearly as powerful as putting the audience right into the scene.
“Stories open the subconscious mind
of your audience, so your content can easily
be absorbed and real change can occur
within the lives of your audience.”
Do you want to create more lasting change? Do you have a message that matters? What perspective-changing stories do you have that you can use? Choose to master storytelling, and you will have more influence and create more change while drawing more people to admire you. Make sense?