The one time I don’t agree with Brene Brown

Stories with emotion

Sat in an empty, trendy conference room with Andrew, I’d been expecting nervousness. But, even though we’d just met, I was having a BLAST.

He was interviewing me for the LUSH (yep, the soap company) podcast. And – as you’ll hear if you listen, he quoted Brene Brown as saying,

“Stories are data with soul”

I laughed like a drain when he said it – I love this quote. But, as I talked my way through my response, I realised that actually,

Stories are…

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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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