Storytelling is a buzzword that has inspired more passion recently. Presenting information as a story rather than a rational selection of facts makes for greater engagement and memorability. The demand for intentional, compelling, and results-oriented videos, speeches, and presentations from brand marketers is what lead me to attend a General Assembly workshop on persuasive storytelling.
Daniel Roberts, CEO of Friendly Human, started his presentation with challenging the audience to make their next story their best. The problem with current storytelling patterns is that they’re only effective for narratives. Instead of using the tried-and-true story arcs and hero’s journey (monomyth), a more effective method is incorporating a message that will move people, and most importantly, persuade.
Daniel explained that persuasive storytelling starts with identifying the "what is," which is the intended audience’s unappealing current status quo, and introducing the "what could be," an appealing place where the audience wants to be or go. This process is called Sparkline, a methodology he learned from a TED talk by Nancy Duarte, a writer, speaker, and CEO of the largest design firm in Silicon Valley, Duarte Design. Nancy created the Sparkline to illustrate and visualize the arc of storytelling persuasion. After trial and error, she drew a basic shape and realized it worked when she overlaid it with Steve Jobs’ iPhone launch in 2007 and, by contrast, with Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Check out my SlideShare presentation below for more details about Sparkline and about Daniel’s advice for crafting a powerful brand story. And remember this: “People will forget what you said, forget what you did, but they'll never forget how you made them feel.”