Storytelling Meaning, Tips, Method, Model, Explanation & Examples
What is the meaning of storytelling? How can you apply it? In this expert article, you’ll get helpful storytelling tips from renowned storytelling experts, including models and examples. Read along…
What is Storytelling?
In short, storytelling means that you use stories to achieve a goal and create engagement . In contrast to data and facts, stories make it possible to touch people .
With a story you can make people enthusiastic to commit themselves to a greater cause . In addition, you can create clarity with a story because a story is a concrete example of a point that you want to make.
What can you use storytelling for?
Storytelling can be applied in many situations in life . There is a special power in stories, so it will seldom be pointless to use a story.
Some well-known examples of storytelling:
- In a presentation
- In an application
- In marketing communications
- In a product, service or experience
- In a performance, film, documentary or piece of music
Tips & models for applying storytelling
Below, let’s look at the various expert tips and models for applying storytelling …
Tip 1 – Use the step-by-step plan below to tell a story
- Start with a question if necessary .
- Introduce a main character in a different time and place.
- Introduce a daily routine .
- Interruption of the routine, aka a problem.
- Emotional impact on the main character.
- Determine the desired result or need .
- Make it important .
- Identify all obstacles .
- Resources : What Do You Need to Overcome Those Obstacles?
- Tell the outcome .
- Engage the emotions after overcoming those obstacles.
- Make a conclusion .
The above steps are explained in detail in this article about telling metaphors.
Tip 3 – Another storytelling model? Use the format of The Hero’s Journey
The Hero’s Journey is a classic storytelling model that you can recognize in any Disney movie. Many other storytellers – such as the writers of TV series and marketing plans – are also very loyal to this model.
Take a Disney movie in your head as an example and read the steps below of the Hero’s Journey:
- We are introduced to the status quo : in Finding Nemo we see how Nemo goes to school every day and plays with his friends, while his father is very afraid that something bad will happen to Nemo.
- Then comes the call for adventure : Nemo is taken by divers and his father has to find him …
- Nemo’s father is too scared. He declines this call for adventure …
- He meets Dory ( the mentor figure ) and overcomes his fear of the open sea to bring Nemo back. He crosses the threshold and steps outside his comfort zone.
- There are all kinds of trials, challenges and temptations along the way.
- The finale, aka “The Great Battle,” is the perilous escape plan to help Nemo escape a dentist’s aquarium.
- Victory and reward : in the end it works …
- Reconciliation and transformation: The father realizes that Nemo can save himself. The trio returns home with an inner gift.
Tip 3 – Use imagery in your story
A story is brought to life with imagery. When you master this art, you turn into an elegant storyteller.
Some examples of imagery:
- He could never escape the iron grip of desire …
- The sailboat danced on the waves …
- He rushed at me like an angry bull …
More examples? Check out this article on imagery.
Tip 4 – Use your ‘origin story’
Storytelling expert Aartjan van Erkel teaches us to communicate your own ‘origin story’ with your audience / customers. Below are some important points he makes:
- Tell your ‘origin story’: where you come from and what you have experienced as a result of which you started doing business.
- Show in the story that you have an emotional motivation to do what you do. Otherwise, customers look up to you too much, so that they feel distant and you lose them. It takes away the distance because in our emotions we are all alike.
- The superhero is your customer himself. He just doesn’t feel that way yet: that’s why he needs you. You are their mentor. So don’t let your ego kid you that you are the hero. You’re not Luke Skywalker, you’re Yoda.
Aartjan van Erkel also talks about ‘primal plot models’. These are proven structures for storytelling. Read more here.
Tip 5 – Include parallel metaphors in your story
Storytelling expert Jaap Hulsmann talks about a powerful storytelling technique: paralleling the story with the needs, goals and obstacles of your audience so that they can identify with it.
For example, do you know that your audience is currently earning less than $ 2,000 a month, are single mothers and aim to earn $ 5,000 a month? Then your story could be about a fruit tree that produces little fruit every year and stands all alone, without other trees nearby. Then you can incorporate into the story the resources that your audience also needs, such as flexibility and perseverance.
According to Jaap Hulsmann, there are three questions you can ask yourself to practice effective storytelling:
- What is the message I want to convey?
- What are the needs of my target audience?
- What are the pre-existing stories that go with that? What are stories that I can create myself? You must use the internal story that is within you for the story of your product or service, with which you will eventually attract customers.
Go from your internal story to external story, or external glory!
– Jaap Hulsmann
You can say a lot more with stories than if you just summed up a list of facts. Stories linger. You touch an emotion in people, and if you succeed, you can convey a message effectively.
Tip 6 – A powerful storytelling method? Just be honest and vulnerable
Femke Bakker from Kind to your Mind teaches two lessons about storytelling:
- Show an honest picture of your own life and yourself. This requires vulnerability.
- If you show an honest image of yourself, you automatically no longer have to be consciously involved with storytelling.
“I myself am not consciously involved with Storytelling. What I find important on social media is that I show an honest picture of myself and my life. Even though I sometimes have to be very vulnerable to that. ”
– Femke Bakker
Tip 7 – Research your audience, because you can tailor your story to that
Marketing expert Arie Lindenburg says that a good story can be found in the founder of the company.
Marketing is something that entrepreneurs want to outsource, while they have the key to success: a good story.
– Arie Lindenburg
The story of the founder of the company must at the same time also connect to the experience of your audience. Jaap Hulsmann has already described this
- Who are your clients?
- How did they get from A to B?
- How did they go from total ignorance of the solution and the problem to finding the solution and overcoming the problem?
How do you get answers to the above questions? Invite your previous and current clients for an interview. 20 conversations. Have them explain their transformation and possibly include it.
- How are people when you meet them?
- What questions do you ask to find out what’s going on?
- What things will you do with them to help them get rid of the problems?
- What is the result when it is a success?
A powerful story is the best marketing you can do, and not a story about yourself, but about the transformation that you as an entrepreneur offer your clients.
– Arie Lindenburg
Tip 8 – Go in depth in the story
Artjanna Hulsmann-Harkhoe of Artjanna Stories: “I share the lessons and insights that I experience with my ideal target group. I often look at what my experience is and what my listeners can learn from.”
How do you do that?
- By sharing your story vulnerable and openly.
- See the recognition your listeners experience in your story.
- Because of the openness and honesty that your listeners taste.
- And by looking for depth in your story …
You want to keep asking questions and look up the depth so that you go to the core. Go deep instead of superficial. This ensures connection.
I believe that everyone carries a story and that everyone deserves the chance to be seen and heard.
– Artjanna Hulsmann-Harkhoe
To your success!