I like a good story. We all do.
What do the best stories do? I believe they all have one thing in common. They take you somewhere.
All the best novels make this magical feeling happen for their inquisitive readers. To Kill a Mockingbird, All the King’s Men, A Farewell to Arms, The Good Earth, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn certainly did such for me when I was growing up and falling in love with reading books.
In the public relations and marketing fields, a term one hears a great deal nowadays is storytelling. We say in our business that we are storytellers. But the storytelling word has become overused, bordering on trite.
I think there is a better word, a new word. The term is storytaking. It is the next level of storytelling, in my opinion.
When we become storytakers, we create a dynamic sensory experience for our listeners. We combine two things quite well: the heart and the head.
You are moved by the story as it makes you think and experience both the heart and mind working vividly together. You see movies applying this technique all the time. Pick one of your favorites and look back at how it transported you to that moment of time and touched your heart and made you ponder. Some of the movies that come to mind for me are Apollo 13, Bridge of Spies and a classic, The Sting.
Storytaking – not just storytelling – should be the aim. Let’s take that person somewhere and have them feel as if they are right there with you.
Let’s do it naturally and succinctly. Storytaking is never forced, you see. It just flows and has the right cadence, proper momentum.
Try it sometime. Strive to take that person there and watch what happens. It is powerful to observe.
We all have the ability to be effective storytakers. It is worth the practice and overall effort.
A few storytaking takeaways:
Take, not just tell.
Combine heart and head with your story.
Keep the story succinct.
Always have something at stake in your storytaking.
Have it reflect renewed hope and humility as you wrap up the story.
Make it meaningful and memorable. A good litmus test here is: the story is told over and over again by others who hear it. We call this at our shop having a retelling ripple effect. Strive for that.
Here’s to the storytaking art and journey!