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5 Reasons Why Compelling Stories Create Change

Books on a window sill

5 Reasons Why Compelling Stories Create Change

 

These days everyone and their neighbor are interested using stories to better their businesses, work environments, sermons and brands. But do you know the reasons why compelling stories create change? As a filmmaker, I’ve been very intrigued by the WHY behind story. I’ve always known that stories engage people, change communities and basically make everything in life better. Our greatest leaders used story to get their messages across. I’ve always believed that film was especially powerful in communicating powerful messages to their viewers that inspire and change their lives. If you’re wondering how stories create change keep reading.

1. COMPELLING STORIES CREATE CHANGE BY HELPING US FOCUS

Did you know our brains have up to 2,000 daydreams a day? BUT when we are listening to a story that grabs our attention the number of times we take a mental trip through lala land goes to zero! Not only is there an increase in focus, memory improves. Interestingly, the part of the brain used for memory is the same part used for imagination and story.

2. COMPELLING STORIES CREATE CHANGE BY CONNECTING US TO THE STORYTELLER

FMRI (functional MRI) studies show that storytelling causes more areas of the brain to light up than when it’s presented with factual content.When the brain experiences story our neurons fire in the same pattern as the speaker’s brain causing neural coupling. The mirror neurons create a bond between the speaker and the audience triggering a process called narrative transport creating empathy with the story teller.

3. COMPELLING STORIES CONNECT US TO EACH OTHER

Did you know that stories can change the brain’s chemistry? When captivated by an engaging story, the brain produces oxytocin, which is shown to increase generosity, compassion, trustworthiness, and sensitivity to social cues. The findings shown indicate that during successful communication, speakers’ and listeners’ brains exhibit joint, temporally coupled, response patterns.”

4. COMPELLING STORIES PREPARE US FOR “COMPASSIONATE COMMUNICATION”

After participating in a engaging story together, we are ready and primed for “compassionate communication“ (Waldman and Newberg) refers to a type of communication which encourages respect and sincerity towards others.

5. COMPELLING STORIES MOTIVATE US TO TAKE ACTION AND  MAKE AN IMPACT

 Seeing an engaging story and participating in compassionate conversation doesn’t have to be the end. Did you know that stories can affect behavior? Pioneer “neuroeconomist” Dr. Paul Zak has shown that people are far more likely to donate to a cause after viewing an emotionally impactful story. Movements start with one impactful conversation that impacts one person at a time.

If you are interested in learning how you can use story to create space for difficult discussions consider hosting a screening of one of our films at your organization.

 

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