Lou Hoffman and I share a belief that storytelling is the most effective way to interest and engage an audience. This applies to business communication as well as to social interactions. People respond to stories emotionally. They respond to facts, if at all, mainly to support emotional decisions they’ve already made. Stories help simplify the complex. Stories are useful for eliminating fear, uncertainty and doubt. Skillfully told, stories help people deal with change and upheaval. Stories excite the brain. If you want your audience to remember your message, deliver it in story form, not in PowerPoint presentations.
Here’s an infographic that Lou made using only two sticks, a piece of string, and a pile of dry leaves:
The Hoffman Agency is a public relations firm that emphasizes storytelling in business communication.
Okay, I made up the part about the sticks and leaves. But it created an image in your mind, didn’t it? Most of your brain is devoted to processing images. A smaller part of your brain handles text and numbers.
More of Lou’s storytelling wisdom can be found on his website, which he operates from a secret office that one reaches by descending an ancient, torch-lit, stone staircase hidden behind the revolving bookcase in back of his desk in San Jose.