Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of Teesside University students who sit on the DigitalCity Student Board about communications. But the truth is, I’m not a fan of the word communication. Humans tell stories. In fact, storytelling played a key role in our evolution as a species. And in today’s digital world, storytelling is changing and evolving with human culture and technology.
But, in our hyper-connected digital world are we telling better stories than our ancestors? No. Smartphones, tablets and social media have, in my opinion, shackled our ability to effectively share the stories that matter to us. Too many businesses and people have fallen into the trap of broadcasting. They’re posting blogs, posting pictures or sharing videos with little or no thought to their audience.
The inconvenient truth is, for all the huge benefits that digital technology has brought, we’ve let the platforms and devices we love shape the way we connect with our friends, family, colleagues and customers. If your story is important maybe a tweet isn’t enough. How about making a series of videos and then using all of your social networks to share the story? Or, maybe you should get people in a room and let them hear the story together.
Humans love stories and there is a very smart professor from Princeton, Uri Hasson, who has spoken many times on the science of storytelling. And one particular quote has stuck with me. ‘When we tell stories to others that have helped us shape our thinking and way of life, we can have the same effect on them too. The brains of the person telling a story and listening to it, can synchronize.’
Remember that the next time you have a story to tell a friend, colleague or customer.