Have you ever found yourself tapping your foot and thinking (or begging out loud), “Just get to the point?”
Getting straight to the point is apparently not that sticky.
And perhaps not the strongest way to inspire action.
As it turns out, there’s more power in a story. A good story fires up our neurons and takes us on a journey. It’s like a “flight simulator for the brain.”
A good story drips sticky.
Why does mental simulation work? It works because we can’t imagine events or sequences without evoking the same modules of the brain that are evoked in real physical activity.
While a credible idea makes people believe and an emotional idea makes people care, the right stories make people act.
Heath and Heath suggest there are three basic plots that can be used to classify more than 80 percent of the inspirational Chicken Soup stories–“stories that uplift, motivate, and energize.”
1. Challenge Plot: A protagonist overcomes a formidable challenge and succeeds, like David taking down Goliath. Or the Chilean miners surviving 69 days in the belly of the earth.
2. Connection Plot: A relationship bridges a gap–racial, class, ethnic, religious, demographic, or otherwise. Like the story of the Good Samaritan. Or the story (stories) of the Chilean miners that captured the hearts of people from all over the world.
3. Creativity Plot: Someone makes a mental breakthrough by solving a long-standing puzzle or attacking a problem in an innovative way. It’s also called the MacGyver plot. (I loved that show.) We also read these stories in the rescue of the Chilean miners.
Stories can almost single-handedly defeat the Curse of Knowledge. In fact, they naturally embody most of the SUCCESs framework. Stories are almost always Concrete. Most of them have Emotional and Unexpected elements. The hardest part of using stories effectively is making sure that they’re Simple–that they reflect your core message.
Stories have the amazing dual power to simulate and to inspire. And most of the time we don’t even have to use much creativity to harness these powers–we just need to be ready to spot the good ones that life generates every day.
Jesus was the master storyteller. The stories He told have stuck with us for centuries. And changed lives.
And now my friends Tami and Toni have launched a new website called @stickyJesus in celebration of their new book by the same name that will be launched later this month. Their mission is to inspire Christ followers as they go online into all the world to tell their stories, to share The Story.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that “sticky” and “stories” are buzzwords today.
For such a time as this.