Science of Storytelling | Summary and Q&A

76.7K views
June 26, 2017
by
Stanford Graduate School of Business
YouTube video player
Science of Storytelling

TL;DR

Our brains are hardwired to think in story terms, and understanding this can help us effectively communicate and influence others.

Install to Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Transcripts

Key Insights

  • 🧠 Our brains naturally seek out story-like structures to make sense of information, as it provides order and context.
  • 🧠 The neural story net in our brain manipulates information to create meaning, even if it's not explicitly stated.
  • 💍 As storytellers, it is crucial to engage, transport, stay relevant, and influence our audience through storytelling techniques.

Transcript

[MUSIC] I'm going to try something a little different. I'm going to tell you a story, but it's a different kind of story. It's very short, it only has three sentences. Are you ready? >> Yes. >> Thanks, Jake. He went to the store. Fred died. Sharon went hungry and wept. Now, in listening to this story, what can you all tell me about maybe the relati... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: How does our brain's inclination towards stories impact our understanding and learning?

Our brains are predisposed to think in story terms because stories provide a sense of order to the information we receive, making it easier to understand and remember.

Q: How does the neural story net work to make sense of disjointed information?

The neural story net in our brain fills in gaps and makes assumptions to connect disjointed information, creating a coherent narrative even if it's not explicitly stated.

Q: What strategies can storytellers use to keep their audience engaged?

Storytellers can physically engage their audience through the use of pauses, tone of voice, hand gesturing, eye contact, and posture, ensuring that they stay attentive and focused.

Q: How can storytelling influence the attitudes and beliefs of the audience?

Through crafting relevant and engaging stories, storytellers can subtly alter the audience's attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge, creating a new perspective and influencing their behavior.

Summary

Our brains are hardwired to think in story terms and structures, which helps us make sense of information and remember it. This structure is the result of over 100,000 years of evolution and is governed by the Neural Story Net in our brains. However, if a story is too disjointed or disorganized, our brains may disengage and the message will be lost. To effectively communicate and influence others, we need strategies to fit our message into a story-like structure and engage our audience.

Questions & Answers

Q: How does our brain's inclination towards story structures impact our understanding and memory?

Our brains are pre-disposed to think in story terms and in story structures. This impacts how we understand things, how we make sense of things, and what we choose to remember and what we choose to forget.

Q: What is the Neural Story Net and what is its purpose?

The Neural Story Net is a specific part of our brain that is in charge of applying story-like structures. Its purpose is to satisfy the Make Sense Mandate of our brains, which states that everything we see and hear needs to make sense before we actually understand and learn it.

Q: How does our Neural Story Net manipulate information to force it to make sense?

If the information we receive is disorderly, our Neural Story Net starts making assumptions and connections to bring some order and make it make sense. For example, in the given story, the assumption that Fred and Sharon were married was made by the audience, even though it wasn't explicitly stated.

Q: What can happen if a story is too disjointed or disorganized?

If a story is too disjointed or disorganized, our brains may disengage and we may lose interest in the message being conveyed. This can lead to distractions and the audience forgetting about the story or topic.

Q: How does engagement play a role in storytelling?

Engagement is the first step to influence and it involves physically showing up and actively connecting with the audience. Techniques such as pauses, tone of voice, hand gesturing, eye contact, and posture can help to engage the audience and make them more receptive to the message.

Q: What is the purpose of transportation in storytelling?

Transportation helps the audience visualize and contextualize the story being told. It allows the audience to become immersed in the narrative and builds trust between the storyteller, the story, and the audience. This can be achieved through various techniques, such as visual word plays or physically transporting the audience into the storyline.

Q: Why is relevance important in storytelling?

Relevance is crucial because our minds constantly seek connections and ask the question "what's in it for me?" If there is no relevance or connection to the audience, their minds may reject the message and disengage. By staying relevant to the audience, storytellers can better sell their ideas and ensure the message is received.

Q: What is the ultimate goal of storytelling?

The ultimate goal of storytelling is to influence the audience's behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge. It is about creating a parallel stream of beliefs rather than trying to correct or invalidate what the audience currently believes. By crafting stories in a structured and engaging way, storytellers can effectively influence their audience.

Q: What are the key takeaways from this video?

The key takeaways are that our brains analyze every message in story form, so if the message cannot connect with a story structure, it may not be effectively understood or remembered. Additionally, the make sense mandate in our brains determines whether the audience accepts, alters, or rejects our message based on how well it makes sense to them. To craft excellent stories that influence our audience, we need to stay engaged, transport them into the story, ensure relevance, and aim to alter their attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge rather than outright correcting them.

Takeaways

Our brains naturally think in story terms and structures, making storytelling a powerful tool for communication and influence. By following a structured approach to storytelling, including engaging the audience, transporting them to the story, staying relevant, and aiming to influence attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge, we can craft compelling stories that effectively convey our message and resonate with our audience.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Our brains naturally seek out story-like structures to make sense of information, and this impacts how we understand and remember things.

  • The neural story net in our brain manipulates and connects information to create meaning, even if it's not explicitly stated.

  • As communicators, it is important to engage, transport, stay relevant, and influence our audience through storytelling.

Share This Summary 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on:

Explore More Summaries from Stanford Graduate School of Business 📚

Summarize YouTube Videos and Get Video Transcripts with 1-Click

Download browser extensions on: