Storytelling Creates Empathy

This new infographic illustrates why storytelling is such an important part of any successful communications effort. It shows scientific studies have proven that telling a story actually alters the chemistry in the brain, triggering releases of chemicals that create empathy and neural connections that cause listeners to put themselves in the place of the subject of the story.

Emotionally engaging stories affect more areas of the brain than rational, data-driven messages – meaning that they are far more likely to resonate with your audiences. This affinity for stories dates back the earliest days of humankind, when stories were the only way to relay history, culture and knowledge. From ancient times, when ancestors sat around a fire listening to tribal storytellers, to today’s digital world of videos, whiteboards and more, our appetite for storytelling has been voracious. We have used narratives to understand those who are different from us and to understand ourselves.

As Christopher Booker, in his book The Seven Basic Plots, describes it, there are seven core plots in the most commonly recognizable narrative structures. These are: A journey taken and the return, overcoming challenges, making your way in the world, a quest, comedy, tragedy and rebirth.

Keeping these core plots and the art of storytelling foremost in any communications planning will help ensure messages reach their target audiences and that those audiences empathize and remember those messages.


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