PART III – The Skills
The Art and Science of Storytelling
Value of Stories
Whenever we kick off AMPLIFII events over dinner, I begin with this story frame. You can take a plain piece of chicken with no story and it ends up on the dollar menu at a fast-food restaurant or take-out shop. Now take that same piece of chicken, build a story around it, the farm it came from, how it was meticulously prepared by a five-star chef, and presented with the utmost attention to detail. Suddenly that $1 piece of chicken is part of a $100 per person tasting menu.
Let’s face it, we as humans have a tough time resisting a good story, whether it’s water cooler gossip, a social media post, a Go Fund Me appeal, a movie, a favorite show, or simply a fun experience.
storytelling is the most powerful way to engage an audience in complex concepts and ideas. The right story can move audiences to support extremely complex business ventures and give money to finance them.
Stories allow us to build a simplified model of reality to make sense of the world around us.
Think about it. Our brains are constantly deciding what’s valuable and what’s not. That’s where storytelling becomes a powerful tool. As mentioned earlier, a story becomes the logical and natural way to organize or categorize data into a simplified, usable—what’s valuable to me at this moment—model of reality.
The reason we daydream is that the largest part of our brains, the neocortex, is charged with trying to predict the future to prepare us for various eventualities—what if this happens or that happens. Daydreaming is simply scenario planning or future simulations.
we stop daydreaming because the storyteller is doing the daydreaming for us. The storyteller is building the narrative inside the listener’s mind.
In fact, when someone listens to a story, they aren’t just listening, they are fully present. It’s the same level of awareness as if they were in a life-and-death situation—as attuned to the message as if someone were pointing a gun at them. That level of acute focus is known as attentional narrowing.