Nathanael Garrett Novosel, April 20 2022

Take People on the Journey

Everyone knows that people love a good story.  It helps them learn, remember things, and stay engaged in a presentation or conversation.  But why is it such a more impactful way to convey information than simply stating facts, such as “2+2=4”?  Because the story is a journey, and effective engagement, influence, and relationship-building follows the same logical flow as the growth journey that people are on in their lives.

The most famous example of this is Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” for optimal storytelling.  Here is the diagram for that journey:

This isn’t a walkthrough of this model, so just a quick, oversimplified breakdown for you if you’re not familiar is that every good “hero” story requires the protagonist to have a goal to achieve and, therefore, an adventure to undertake, support and adversity along the way, some big moments of conflict, realization, or action that make the journey interesting and worthwhile, and along the way the hero grows into the person necessary to attain the goal so he can then return home successful and changed forever.

The question for this post is why does storytelling like this work, and why does it help entertain, influence, and build relationships?  The answer is that the journey taken in a story mirrors the growth journey, which is what everyone is on in life.  Here are the elements that make storytelling so important to communicating with others:

So incorporating more storytelling into your teaching, persuading, and conversing can go a long way to helping people learn and building relationships.  Stories make you relatable, help people understand the whole situation and the (re)solution, and get them to engage more with what you’re explaining to them.  If you want someone to be on your side, get them to see why your product or service will work for them, or to help someone make the right decision, storytelling is a big tool in your toolkit.  Just remember to take people on the journey; if you start where they are and end with the conclusion that you think is best for them, then you have appropriately guided them to the right answer.

Written by

Nathanael Garrett Novosel


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