Storytelling has been around for as long as we can remember and remains a hot topic even today. It is used in marketing strategy as well in literature and the entertainment industry. While storytelling is increasingly recognised as a powerful communication tool, some common misconceptions still persist. We continue by revealing the most common misconceptions about storytelling.
One of the biggest misconceptions about storytelling is that it only applies to fictional stories, such as novels, fairytales and films. Storytelling can, however, be used in every context: whether it’s a business presentation or brand commercial, informal discussion or conveying company culture, storytelling has a place in all aspects of life. The use of stories in non-fictional contexts can stir emotions, be convincing, and clarify complex ideas for viewers or listeners.
While fun is one of the benefits of storytelling, it actually goes much deeper than that. Storytelling is a powerful aid in conveying a message, sharing information and calling people to action. In the business world, storytelling is increasingly used to strengthen brands, sell products and involve customers. Stories create an emotional bond, whereby people feel more connected and are more likely to take action.
A third misconception is that good storytellers must be extrovert, charismatic individuals who can talk effortlessly in front of an audience. Nothing could be further from the truth. Extrovert people may be more likely to share their stories, however, storytelling is a skill that can be learned and developed by people whatever their personality. It is not only about talking to an audience, but also about creating a connection at a personal level, even when speaking one-to-one.
A happy ending can be satisfying, but that doesn’t mean that every story needs to end well. Real life is full of ups and downs, and stories often mirror this complexity. A story can be inspiring without a perfectly happy ending, and can inspire readers or viewers to consider the complexity of human existence, develop empathy and reflect on their own life.
A last and common misconception about storytelling is that it is exclusively concerned with triggering the audience’s emotions. Although emotions play an essential role in good storytelling, it is important to understand that not every story is about provoking an emotional reaction. Stories can also be educational and/or informative, or even analyse a complex problem without being charged with emotions. It is the balance between emotion and information that make a story strong and memorable.
Storytelling is a multifaceted and powerful communication tool that goes beyond fiction and pure amusement. By finding the right balance between emotion, information and logic, storytellers can enthral, convince and inspire their audience in an authentic and impactful manner. Whether you tell a story in front of a large audience or conduct an intimate discussion on a small scale, the right story can make a powerful difference.
Text by Amaryllis De Bast