Your Brain on Story

I've been podcasting for a while. When I was at Apple we did over 100 episodes of FieldPods to bring new ideas and information to field engineering team, from the field engineering team, and I just finished recording my 9th episode of Selling Together.

One thing that I've noticed Is that when folks come on to a podcast they posture as an expert.

Which Is great.

Usually we want expertise in interview style podcasting. But the episodes with the most positive feedback and highest download rates, are the episodes that contain stories, not expertise.

What is so impactful about a story?

Stories have been an integral part of human communication for thousands of years. Our preference for stories over rote information is an evolutionary adaptation. Our brains are wired to respond to stories in a unique way.

Our brains are constantly bombarded with information, and stories help us organize and make sense of that information. Brains are sense making machines. They're designed to take in raw data: sights, sounds, smells experiences, and then make meaning out of that data. It does this in very specific ways, but it's primary mechanism is through narrative. When we hear a story we are able to extract meaning more easily because our brains don't have to fit the information into the framework, the framework is already there. When we hear a story about important information it allows our brain to skip a step and to understand complex ideas and concepts with less effort.

The novelty and relatability of stories activate multiple areas of the brain, and facilitates memory storage. We visualize the characters and setting. We emotionally connect with the characters and their experiences. We process the language to help us remember the information more effectively.

Stories provide the ability to connect with one another and to make sense of our world though the experiences of others.

They facilitate empathy.

By incorporating storytelling into our communication and training methods, we can tap into this innate preference and make our messages more memorable and impactful.

I'm going to do a better job of this in the future.

Have more Questions?