CommCore Blog and News

Storytelling: Apply the Science

14.11Storytelling isn’t just the hottest trend in PR messaging or a communications skill we teach.

A recent Harvard Business Review article discusses Claremont University Prof. Paul Zak’s research that suggests storytelling impacts neurological processes in our brains. Lab studies demonstrate that a neurochemical called oxytocin transmits an “it’s safe to approach others” signal in the brain. The research focused on “character driven stories” and found a positive chemical reaction in the brain, separate from the images that the listener can picture in the mind’s eye from the story.

Zak points out how storytelling works in a wide range of external and internal business and organizational settings. CommCore knows that the same applies to quotes in media interviews.

With this additional proof, we will double-down on the counsel that effective storytelling requires you know how to construct and deliver a good story:

  • Think about your audience’s “WIIFM – What’s In It For Me?”
  • Know that the best stories combine facts and data along with the image.
  • Technical/data proofs are the foundation for developing and delivering attention-grabbing and relevant “visual” stories with messages that will stick or get quoted.
  • Analogies and third party endorsements add images and “character” to the information.
  • Rehearse the stories. Any actor will tell you that effective delivery is key to impact.

One caveat: In crisis situations, use stories sparingly. Stick with facts; in addition to expressing appropriate care and concern.