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Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Art and Science Behind Telling a Story That BOMBs

Science says that we tell and listen to stories because: “the constant firing of our neurons in response to fictional stimuli strengthens and refines the neural pathways that lead to skillful navigation of life’s problems.”

Translation from Klingon to English: We like stories because they help us deal with both the beauty and the crap that life sends our way. 

So if we need stories to navigate through life, why does it feel like some stories are all about the storyteller and do nothing for the listener? This kind of story is all about: my resume, my greatness, my oppressive agenda, what I want. 

If your story as a lot of “my’s” and “I’s” then it’s going to be a crap story and the listener is going to walk away (and might probably be pissed as well). 

Case in point: When I first started out as an actor, I wanted to meet every director, producer, and casting director from New York to Bollywood (hey—I was desperate). Whenever I got the chance to get in front of someone I wanted to impress, the story was always about me, my resume, my skills, and what I wanted. Soon enough, the director’s or producer’s eyes would glaze over, bored to near death, hoping to god they’d be saved by a nuclear blast rather than sit through another thirty seconds listening to me talk. 

I never stopped to think about having a conversation, about asking them who they are and what they wanted. I never thought about telling them a (my) story so that it was for their benefit. 

Storytelling is never about what you want (not entirely) nor the income… it’s always about the outcome. You’ll get what you want in part or in full only after you’ve fulfilled someone else’s needs. 

PS. I’d love to hear about a time you told a story and it totally bombed. What could you have done differently? Click reply to holler at me or message me on Facebook.

P.P.S. Speaking of stories: I recently was interviewed on An Evolving Lifestyle Podcast. It was a blast! And I think you’d enjoy. You can listen to the interview here:

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