I think one of the first books I read on storytelling was Story by Robert McKee. It’s written from the perspective of a screenwriter and conveys a tremendous understanding of story structure. Today I noticed Presentation Zen blogged a long post reviewing a Harvard Business Review article by McKee, some video interviews and a myriad of other resources you might find interesting.
While Garr is mainly focussed on storytelling in this quote, we have found a similar phenomenon in our story-listening work.
The most common way to persuade people, says McKee, is with conventional rhetoric and an intellectual process that in the business world “…usually consists of a PowerPoint presentation” in which leaders build their case with statistics and quotes, etc. McKee says rhetoric is problematic because while we are making our case others are arguing with us in their heads using their own statistics and sources. Even if you do persuade through argument, says McKee, this is not good enough because “…people are not inspired to act on reason alone.” The key, then, is to aim to unite an idea with an emotion, which is best done through story. “In a story, you not only weave a lot of information into the telling but you also arouse your listener’s emotion and energy.” (emphasis added)
About Shawn Callahan
Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:
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