Storytelling is a powerful tool for communicating andengaging with an audience, but is it right for every scenario?
Sometimes, you just need to give the straight facts. Justtell your audience what’s what, and they’ll come to the logical conclusion you want them to. The correct conclusion.
Here’s the problem: Facts, by themselves, are boring. Evenwhen it’s critical that you relay factual information to your audience, you’d be well-advised to package them in a story.
Let me refer you to my lawyer.
Keep Your Audience Awake
Tara Warwick is a patent attorney. She also handles businesscontracts, and she’s helped me out once or twice, so she is, in a very real sense, my lawyer.
She will occasionally find herself in a courtroom,litigating a case in front of a jury. You know, like lawyers do.
I’ve seen enough episodes of Law & Order to know that ifyou want the jury to return the right verdict, you just need to give them the straight facts. Especially if the facts are on your side.
Tara set me straight.
Here’s the funny thing about juries: They’re people. Theyget bored. They may or may not be interested in what you have to say. They forget stuff. They make decisions based on emotion.
So Tara says that a lot of lawyers are using storytelling incourt. Not that they’re making stuff up, but conveying the pertinent facts in a story that’s interesting, engaging, and memorable.
And, most importantly, according to Tara: “A story thatkeeps them awake.”
Turns out stories work to convey facts. Even in abuttoned-up setting like a court of law.
Do You Trust Your Audience?
The next time you think all you need to do is share factswith your audience, to persuade them, to educate them, to inspire them, ask yourself these questions.
Do you trust your audience to simply process facts and cometo a conclusion?
Or are they human beings, who see the world through their ownemotional lenses, like the juries Tara faces in court?
There is certainly a time and a place for relaying facts ina straightforward manner. But facts are typically used to rationalize a decision, not to make it. Storytelling gives you an opportunity to appealto your audience on a human level, while also providing important facts.