In her book “The Story Factor: Inspiration, Influence, and Persuasion through the Art of Storytelling” Annette Simmons shares her experience in storytelling. Storytelling is the science or even the art of influencing through storytelling. The power of storytelling is not what we say, but how we say it. The story must appeal to the emotions of the audience, and it is also important what the narrator is, whether he has a creative beginning.
Annette Simmons defines a story as any narrative message drawn from personal experience, imagination, literary or mythological sources. History provides a person with enough opportunities for independent thinking. History does not tell people exactly what to do in a particular situation, but it helps them think independently when choosing a solution.
Annette Simmons divides stories into six types.
- “Who I Am” Stories. Trust is one of the key factors that you need to be able to influence someone. You have to show who you are, not tell them, so they’ll believe you faster.
- “Why I Am Here” Stories. When you tell a story, you are pursuing some personal goals. You need to be honest with your audience and tell them about your interests, otherwise no one will believe you.
- “The Vision” Story. You need to explain to your audience what benefits they will get if they participate in your project.
- “Teaching” Stories. Instructive stories help explain the meaning of learning new skills.
- “Values-in-Action” Stories. The best way to inculcate a moral value is by example. In second place is the story of such an example.
- “I Know What You Are Thinking” Stories. Before meeting with the audience, you need to prepare yourself, you need to know in advance about any objections that may arise. By voicing your arguments, which explain all the contradictions, you will be able to win over your interlocutors.
The author gives some tips on how to tell a good story. First, you need to acquire and develop your basic communication skills. When you speak in front of an audience, words only carry about 15% of the information that listeners perceive.
Therefore we must not forget about the following points.
- Gesture. Gestures can be subtle, but at the same time very effective. Moderate gestures add meaning to the story, emphasize the main idea, and create a scene where your story unfolds.
- Facial expressions. The ability to consciously use facial expressions to express emotions will make you a great storyteller, especially if your face will express the emotional component of your story, regardless of whether you pay attention to it or not.
- Body language. Your pose will give your audience the right emotional charge and put them in the right emotional state.
- Sounds, Smells and Tastes. The purpose of the story is to capture the audience, let them hear, see, smell, touch, and taste your story.
- Irrelevant detail. The desire to operate only with facts excludes the emotional component, and emotions are a much more powerful factor of influence than logical constructions.
- Virtual reality. The audience, like you, should imagine the picture that you want to draw with your story.
- Timing and Pause. Correctly placed pauses and a well-calculated pace of narration will add meaning and variety to your story.
- Tone. Intonation conveys emotion, which means that it dramatizes the story.
Annette Simmons also discusses the psychology of story’s influence in her book. She advises using a pull strategy and not a push strategy, because if you start pushing people to make a decision, you will only cause resistance in response.
It is necessary that the person made the decision himself, and your story only told him the right direction. People are motivated by their desires, and it is their desires that make people think and act.
The purpose of a spectacular story is to capture the right moment and use people’s desires to their advantage.
You should remember that we live in a modern technological world, so almost everyone you want to influence is living in a situation where there is a lack of human attention. Try to understand your audience, they don’t need new facts, they need a story that explains what all these facts mean and what they mean to them.
Before you try to influence people, you must connect with them. Storytelling does just that. The story you tell should put you and your listener on some common platform where you can come to an agreement. The author advises you to establish a connection before you start to convince.
Annette Simmons identifies six reactions that you have to deal with when dealing with those who resist our stories from the very beginning. This is cynicism, resentment, jealousy, hopelessness, apathy or greed. If these reactions are the driving force of resistance, then the achievement of influence takes place in two stages.
In the first stage, you will have to inspire your audience with a story about unity and cooperation, establish a trusting relationship, and then, in the second stage, tell a story that can influence them.
To achieve high skill in the art of storytelling, Annette Simmons advises you to constantly practice. Storytelling is the easiest way to practice the basics of influence daily. Tell short stories and gradually improve your storytelling skills. With daily practice, the skill will be so deeply embedded in the subconscious that it will be available to you at any time.
Storytelling is a creative process.
The ability to tell stories is revealed only when the narrator changes meanings, follows emotions, and forgets the rules. The ability to move from critical thinking to storytelling shows the vividness of your perception, the ability to move from an objective to a subjective point of view.
The author also addresses moral issues in her book. The ability to influence other people is a great power, but at the same time it is a great responsibility. Most good storytellers experience fear when they are aware of their power over their audience. Influence and power are frightening-and should be. Use stories to make life better, richer, easier.
Throughout the book, Annette Simmons provides examples of various stories. These are her own stories, and the stories of other storytellers, and the stories of famous people, and parables. They all serve to convey to readers the importance of storytelling, as well as to show by example how stories work, how they can convince the public. The main thing to remember is that a properly told story can affect people more than listing dry facts.
You will find more book reviews in the special section of my blog – Book Reviews. Enjoy your reading!