Storytelling is a human imperative. Cave paintings in Europe date anywhere from 10,000 to over 30,000 years old. Music is theorized to have developed during that same prehistoric renaissance, occurring around 30,000 BCE (and older); a time when humankind also began making art, developing ceremony, and burying their dead. I’ve heard it called the “awareness instinct”; we have both a need to tell and a need to know.
Storytelling is also about the messenger coming from over a mountain or out of the forest to bring news from a neighboring land. To be isolated from others is to eventually wither and die. The need to both understand and explain our world has propelled humanity from painting on a cave wall to posting on a Facebook wall.
We tell stories to instruct, persuade, inform, and entertain. Because we want to learn, make a choice, be included and amused. Every ad you see tells a carefully crafted story about a product or service. Words, images, colors and music all individually and collectively create a connection; your buy-in to that message translates to buying a product, a service or even a lifestyle.
It is a compelling need to belong – think McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, LL Bean and Subaru. Think also Harry Potter, Tom Sawyer, Walter Cronkite and your social network friend who is always posting interesting links. This is branding, and it thrives on the power of storytelling.
The stories that most interest us are personal. We are bursting to tell– about the events of our lives, about our preferences and opinions, our creations, and our journeys. It’s no wonder then that we are equally ravenous to read, see and hear these stories.
Effective storytelling is when an audience personally relates to the action and feelings of others living in another time or place, real or invented.
Planning a blog of your own? Want to start a newsletter? Need to write a speech? Can’t find the right words? Let me help you tell a story.Terra Osterling Freelance Writer Contact me.