When someone asks you to tell them a story, how do you start? Whether you begin with “Once Upon a Time,” or “In a Galaxy Far, Far, Away,” to tell a tale is to evoke emotion, intrigue, and convey a message.
Stories serve a purpose. They touch people. You feel connected with the characters, and want them to prevail. Moreover, stories are memorable. We remember our bedtime stories from childhood, so why is it that no one seems to know how to tell a good story today?
The word “storytelling,” specifically, “digital storytelling,” is overused in modern business. The problem is that so many people who are trumpeting their digital storytelling capabilities, don’t know what a story actually is themselves. Corporations are struggling to tell their own stories, let alone write creative ones for their clients, so why would you entrust them with sharing yours?
“For more than two decades, we have devoted our energy and expertise to one mission: excellent customer service. Our values prioritize obtaining the most satisfied customers: customers who have confidence in the fact that they are being taken care of. So we continue to set ourselves on a mission to offer the best service in terms of quality and efficiency, and to meet the infinite needs and desires of customers around the world.”
This is what some people call a “story.” But it’s not. This is just a descriptive corporate blah blah…
Here’s an actual story…
“3 years years ago, we realized that life is too short not to follow our hearts. We decided to quit our jobs and start our own (ad)venture. Today, we are a digital storytelling agency born out of friendship and passion for people and communication. We create magic by crafting stories instead of bullet points. And it works! If we were you, we would give us a try :)”
Curious, which business story would you remember?
That’s what we thought.
While we have you, let us tell you Alex’s story, we think you would like it…
Now that you can see the difference, what exactly are a story’s key components?
- Characters: Whether the hero, the villain, or the underdog, who is the story about? Every story has main characters. Let your principal figures’ personalities shine!
- Setting: Where does the action take place? Descriptions enable people to use their imagination to visualize the location and events, which puts them in the tale.
- Plot: A clear beginning, middle, and end. Use descriptions, suspense, and rising and falling action, so people can follow the story as it unfolds.
- Conflict: Every story’s climax, highest point of action, is centered on conflict. What is the challenge in your story? What are the obstacles to overcome to reach a goal?
- Resolution: Resolve your conflict. Solve the main problem(s). Who knows, you may live happily ever after…
- Emotion: Stories make people feel something. Whether awed, inspired, motivated, moved, or surprised, stories entertain. They touch the hearts and minds of those who hear them.
While storytelling is an ancient form of communication, it clearly translates to today’s world.
In our modern age of media over-saturation, you need storytelling to motivate, inspire, and emotionally engage. Be someone’s hero, and tell a story they’ll actually listen to.