In this video, Brian Cox explains how Margaret Thatcher was persuaded to fund the Large Hadron Collider.
If someone asked you to explain the Higgs Boson particle, you could recount the Thatcher sketch; such is its power.
Stories have power because they transport us into other people’s worlds and can change the way we think. Marketing agencies are very good at creating stories to get us to empathise with characters or themes. Take the very successful Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” advert. Women everywhere connected with this theme. Another piece of mastery by advertisers is the Guinness “Basketball Advert”. The tidal wave of friendship emotions elicited from it is very powerful. Several thousand years of faith are built upon stories in the bible, their moral force remains undiminished. Furthermore, experiments by Dr McGaugh from Center for Neurobiology of Learning and Memory for the University of California, confirm the case for storytelling.
A Black Isle client recently wanted help preparing for a large presentation to 200 stakeholders. She explained that her past performances had been lacklustre and previously she had received some negative feedback that damaged her confidence. In the case of our client, our approach was to help her weave the necessary facts into a narrative that would compel her audience. After revising her approach to include storytelling, she delivered a remarkable performance with excellent feedback
Brian Cox compares Higgs particles to a room full of people and their physical interactions. This is impactful because he is recounting something real from 30 years ago. Stories bring things to life. People will not act unless they understand.
If you want to be persuasive, storytelling is your silver bullet. The best marketeers and leaders have always used storytelling and analogies to inspire their audiences to action. After all, whenever we open our mouths we are all selling (or telling) something – an idea, an opinion, a product, an emotion; a story!
As Mrs Thatcher said, “there is no alternative”.