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Storytelling: 3 Simple Tips From 3 World-Class Experts

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Aristotle

Aristotle determined that persuasion comprises a combination of three appeals: ethos (ethical), logos (rational) and pathos (emotional);

Buffett

Keep it simple. Pretend you are talking to someone who doesn't know much about the topic;

Catmull

Story is king. Focus on how your story makes the audience feel rather than the technical aspects of it.

All throughout the history of mankind, stories represented the most powerful and most durable tools of engagement. Stories drive emotions, decisions and behaviors, but in order to reach their purpose they must be told the right way.

And that’s no different when it comes to your business: effective storytelling is key to a successful communication, but it must be handled with care.


Don’t know how to get started with your storytelling process? Here’s some sound advice from three great storytellers from slightly different eras, backgrounds and perspectives.


Listen to those who built their own legacy by using the right words at the right time in the right order and you’ll be ready to go.

"You’re never going to kill storytelling because it’s built in the human plan, we come with it"

Margaret Atwood


The Three Appeals Of Persuasion



Amongst his teachings in ancient Greece, Aristotle determined that persuasion comprises a combination of three appeals: ethos (ethical), logos (rational) and pathos (emotional).


Some might say: that’s a very old-fashioned consideration, how will it apply to finance and marketing? It will, it will.

In modern storytelling the term ethos means the credibility of the person who is telling the story. You have the authority, you are qualified: showcase your expertise.


Logos means the ability to support your narrative with facts. Bring in tables, graphics and data sets: make them part of your story.


Pathos means the necessity to build emotions into your presentation. Unveil what lies behind numbers and figures: find ways to connect with your audience.


Pretend You Are Talking To A Friend



Considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest value trader of all time, Warren Buffett has often stressed that the success through his 50 years career in business and finance could be encompassed in one word: simplicity.


When you try and tell your own story, suggests Buffett, pretend you’re talking to somebody, a friend or a relative who doesn’t know much - if not very little – about markets and trends.


You are the storyteller: it’s your task to translate tricky issues into plain sentences and simple notions.

To succeed, claims Buffett, you don’t have to be Shakespeare, let a sincere desire to inform guide you instead.


Picture your audience: a highly intelligent, yet not equipped with a detailed expertise, group of people willing to listen and understand.


Avoid technical jargon at all costs, insists Buffett, and you won’t run the risk of being mistaken or misread.


Choose your words carefully: they should inform and engage rather than impress and puzzle.


Story Is King



Started in 1986, Pixar has become a juggernaut in the entertainment industry. Once a part of Lucasfilm, Pixar led the way in what is often called the computer animation revolution.


Edwin Catmull, who co-founded the company along with Alvy Ray Smith, revealed a motto that has enabled Pixar to stand out amongst its peers: story is king.


“We take pride in the fact that reviewers talk mainly about the way our movies make them feel and not about the computer wizardry that enables us to get it up on the screen”, recounts Catmull.


Each section of the company, be it the content creators or the marketers, the software developers or the customer care, is fully engaged in the overall narrative of Pixar.


The point is: it doesn’t really matter what you’re in for, finance rather than movies or marketing: the ability to tell stories that inform, persuade and inspire is crucial.


Let the story guide you and you will cut through the noise, getting your message across.