There is a scientific explanation behind our love for stories. In short, when we hear a list of facts, a certain part of the brain is activated – scientists call this the ‘Broca area’. This is the part of the brain where we decode words into meaning. While that’s a very impressive functionality of the human brain, that’s also where it stops. Nothing else happens. Just think of a boring presentation with many figures. No matter how enthusiastically this is presented, the story in our head doesn’t resonate with the data. When the presenter tells the same facts within the context of a story, something else happens in the brain. A good story can lead your brain to release ‘cortisol’ (the stress hormones) or ‘oxytocin’ (the feel-good hormones). These are the hormones explaining why you feel anxious while watching a horror movie, or happy when the lovers finally come together at the end of a book.
The above doesn’t mean that every story does something to us. So how do you ensure that your story triggers something within your audience? Read ahead to discover five key elements for effective storytelling.