Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years. In fact, telling stories has been a central form of homo sapiens’ communication throughout the ages – even cavemen told stories about their great hunting adventures, which we can still see evidence of in their cave paintings. Every civilisation has a thriving repertoire of captivating and riveting stories, tales, sagas, legends, myths, fables, epics and so forth.
One reason for why stories are special is that they have the power to engage the listener, reader or viewer in ways no other form of communication is able to. For example:
Once upon a time…
These four words alone can make an audience (including yourself maybe, even though only for a millisecond or so) switch to a different part of the brain for processing whatever sensory input comes next.
If we listen to a list of boring facts for example, scientist have discovered that a particular area of our brain is activated – this area is called Broca’s or Wernicke’s area. In essence what is happening is that our language processing center decodes words into meaning. Nothing else happens though!
When listening to stories however, virtually all parts of our brain are potentially engaged because we start to imagine things and associate them with our own experiences or stored memories and mental data.
A simple example can highlight this – imagine a world filled with butterflies; you’re sitting under a majestic, old oak tree on top of a green hill. You are savouring the fresh breeze of wind that is making the tree’s branches crack and squeak. The birds are singing to each other when all of a sudden in the corner of your eye you spot something flashing and blinking…
A few words like this activate our sensory cortex because we simply love stories and how they take us to places. For a brief moment you may have experienced the above scene in your mind and not just decoded the words into meaning.
Obviously there are infinite ways how you can use this to your advantage when it comes to engaging your audiences. And this is exactly why the most successful explainer videos tell an engaging story. It’ll entertain your viewers whilst appealing to them on many levels, and the associations and feelings it will evoke, will lead to your message getting across in the most beneficial way.
Just like every other human being we love stories too – what makes us special though is that we have the expertise and tools to help you tell your audience a story that will engage them and at the same time also convince them of your offering.