Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard by now that using stories in your marketing is the Golden Ticket to business success.
There are scads of blog posts and books out there all telling you WHY storytelling is so important:
- Stories help our brains make sense of the world. Give us three objects or pieces of information, and we will create a story about what they mean.
- Stories make things easier to remember. If you’re attempting to teach anything, it’s more effective to teach with a story than with presentation of data.
- Storytelling evokes a strong neurological response. Our brains produce the stress hormone cortisol during the tense moments in a story, which allows us to focus, while the cute factor of the animals releases oxytocin, the feel-good chemical that promotes connection and empathy. Other neurological research tells us that a happy ending to a story triggers the limbic system, our brain’s reward center, to release dopamine which makes us feel more hopeful and optimistic. And all of those chemicals in your brain mean you’re emotionally involved.
But HOW the heck do you tell a great story? That’s the $20,000 question.
It’s a question I attempt to answer here on this blog. And it’s the study of millions of writers, poets, marketers, speakers, and teachers across the globe. If you’d like to join them and learn more about HOW to tell a great story (and how to keep at it when you start to doubt yourself), here are my top book recommendations for you:
- The Anatomy of a Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller by John Truby
- Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences by Nancy Duarte
- Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need by Margot Leitman
- The Storytelling Method: Steps To Maximize a Simple Story and Make It Powerful, Inspiring, and Unforgettable by Matt Morris
- Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence by Lisa Cron
- Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules by Steven James
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
- Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
- And if you’d like a good overall guide book for finding stories and knowing when to tell them, I like Business Storytelling for Dummies by Karen Dietz and Lori Silverman.
Beyond the books, your best tool for learning how to structure, write, and tell a compelling story is to read more fiction and write regularly and often. To practice. And to find a group of like-minded folks you can share your drafts with and get support, accountability, and constructive feedback.
Here’s to better more compelling business stories!
“Great post, thank you. I have read a couple from this list, but now know what else I should tackle. Have also gained a lot of insights from your other articles, will be investigating more!” – William
“Excellent book list, thank you for compiling it! Many of these books (and your website) have genuinely helped us with our web strategies!” – Meg