Storytelling is an art form that enables you directly communicate with intellect of your audiences and creates an experience in a cerebral level. If you do it right, people will never forget your data, achievements or importance of your cause. They will even love you and want to take action for your cause. There are specific neurological effects of stories that better you know before telling your stories. That way, you realise what kind of feelings and thoughts you can create for your audience and also you find out how to create a remarkable experience for them.
Quick experiment before we start
In order to understand the impressive effect of storytelling, I want you to close your eyes for a minute and remember a moment that you heard a great story. Please try to concentrate on how you felt at the very moment that you listened to this story and what happened in your brain and in your body – even now, while just remembering the story -.
No matter how long did it passed after you had heard that story, isn’t it amazing that you still remember it? You still remember this story because it created an experience for you, which affected your brain, hormones and your whole body or vice versa.
How does storytelling effect your audience’s brain?
1- Stimulate parts of the brain: Experience, Empathy and Action
According to Lakoff, listening to sensory language such as stories activates the areas of the brain necessary to actually ‘experience’ the story. Recent studies also have found that stories stimulate the parts of the brain that helps us intuit others’ thoughts and emotions. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines show that certain language (such as, descriptive and figurative) lights up neurological regions that incite action and movement. After all, studies show us that stories can create experience, create empathy and encourage action. These need to be the ultimate aim of every social impact organisation to reach each time that they communicate with their target audience to increase their impact.
2-DOPAMINE: REMEMBER AND MOTIVATE
When we hear powerful and emotional stories, our brain often releases dopamine . It helps us remember the experience with greater accuracy. Dopamine is called also the motivation hormone which boosts our drive, focus, and concentration. It enables us to plan ahead and resist impulses so we can achieve our goals. If you give your data inside a great story that helps your audience’s brain to release dopamine, you can be sure that the chances of remembering your data will significantly increase.
3- OXYTOCIN: LOVE AND COOPERATE
And lastly and the most significantly it helps us produce the best hormone ever: oxytocin. Our brain produces oxytocin after listening to a character- driven story. It is also called love hormone. It creates an engaging experience and encourages cooperation.
Do you now which other times our brain releases oxytocin? When we hug someone or have sex.
When else do we need oxytocin? While giving birth! In order to give birth, your body needs to take action to make some contractions. In order to take this action, your brain needs to release oxytocin. If your brain doesn’t produce oxytocin, you need to take an oxytocin hormone serum. Otherwise, you cannot give birth.
So next time, when you see a pregnant woman who has problems to give birth, you can try to tell a great story to her.
And next time, when you want your audiences take some actions to give birth to a great change, you can tell them a great story too.
If you achieve to tell a great, remarkable story for your audience, you will not only communicate your data or promote your cause but create a remarkable experience for your audience. They will remember it forever, build empathy and sympathy with your organization and cause. They will be willing to cooperate to create a positive change. And the most importantly, they will be eager to move and take action to support, donate or fund your cause.
P.s Do you want to learn how you can tell great stories for your audience?
Here is your FREE guide: Digital Storytelling for social impact.
Paper Sculpture by Mark / Present & Correct
Folded Paper Sculptures by Matt Shlian
3D Paper Sculpture by Daryl Ashton.