How to Keep an Audience Interested when you Talk or Write – by changing their brains!

Everybody’s banging on about why storytelling is important and that you should be using it. But do you know why? Here’s my favourite fact about storytelling: It actually changes…

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Want to build trust, connection, influence and loyalty? Use THIS in stories. (Science!)

“My stomach was in a tight knot as I walked up to the front door.”

If you want people to really care about your stories, and be inspired to take action, there’s one element you MUST include… and yet, I see people leave it out all of the time.

What is this magic bullet?

EMOTION.

Consider the difference between these two stories:

‘I walked up to the front door.
For thirty seconds, nothing happened.
Then, the door opened, and Sally appeared. I took a deep breath, and said, “Hello.”’

Now, read this one:

‘My stomach was in a tight knot as I walked up to the front door.
For thirty seconds, nothing happened.
I started panicking. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea, I thought. Maybe I should stay out of it.
Then, the door opened, and Sally appeared, smiling. Nervously, I took a deep breath, and said, “Hello.”’

Which story do you care more about? Which one makes you want to keep reading? Which has the strongest effect on you?

I’m guessing it’s the second one. The difference between the two?

In the second, I told you how I FEEL.

Emotions make your story more powerful for five reasons:

(1) We invest in your story
In the second version above, did you wonder WHY I was so nervous – and what might be about to happen?

Telling us how you feel builds tension in a story. Suddenly, there are high stakes, that might not otherwise exist. Researcher Paul Zak discovered that tension is an essential ingredient to keeping us interested in a story.

(2) We trust you more
Have you ever got nervous…

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A Behind-The-Scenes Tour of my Brain Going to a Conference

When I tell people what I do, often they’ll say, “Oh I hate going to networking events!”

Here’s the thing: so do I. They can feel like everyone’s trying to sell you their thing, plus they tend to have snacks at a time meant for dinner, so my hunger gets confused.

But a conference? I bloody love a conference. Have done since I started going to student radio conferences in the 90s, and now love going to ones where I meet other people like me, who are trying to use their powers for good. I love the learning. I *LOVE the meeting people. I love that sometimes, I get to show off a bit.

But, in spite of of all that, I kind of emotionally go through the ringer before each one.

This weekend, I’m at World Domination Summit – which, while it sounds like a Lex Luthor/Doctor Evil meetup, it’s actually talks, meetings and mini-events for 3000 entrepreneurs, who are all trying to make the world a better place.

So, in celebration, here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at my brain, in the run-up to going to, and at the start of, a conference…

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