Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How to tell someone something - you know, some stuff...

The funniest thing is that people like stories.

And they'll remember stuff that is concrete, emotional - you know, touchie-feelie.

Feelings are the stuff of dreams, what makes them become real.

Emotional stories - the ones which strum those heart-strings - are the ones people remember.

Why do Aesop's Fables - keep on living in our lives? Because of their messages - they are concrete and emotional.

This post comes in through A Modern View instead of An Online Millionaire Plan, because it deals with something more basic than mere marketing. It tells us that in order to deliver our messages, we have to tell stories - real, emotional stories.

That's why people went to movies during the depression and why there are so many channels on cable and TV today.

People think in stories, they think in feelings. They watch other's stories, not to vicariously live that existence, but to change their own life by comparing it with someone else's.

And so the reason for inspirational stories, the reason "Chicken Soup" series sold so well.

What tipped this off was an article in McKinsey Quarterly about Chip Heath - who (like Dr. Frank Luntz) tells people to be honest and concrete in their word choices. However, he went the next step of telling people to tell a story in order to get your listeners to remember your point.

In marketing, the most effective sales pages on record were all great stories.

Why does the Bible continue to be the world's all-time bestseller? It tells stories - both human and Divine.

And the Greek/Roman pantheon (as well as the Norse, Amerindian, Indian, all stories of gods and humankind) continue to be told long after those gods supposedly quit existing. They are great stories. Athena still springs from Zeus/Juno's brow. Diana still turns her lover into a deer.

And Brer Rabbit still asks Brer Fox not to throw him into a briar patch.

So, while I have a great deal of books to bring back into this world (see my last post about relaxation - I've got tons that need real re-publishing), the next ones I need to edit and publish are actually the old fairy-tales and collections of stories which tell people how and why to live their lives.

Joseph Campbell worked out that there is really one epic plot that rolls through all classic literature. It is varied beyond belief, but has made all sorts of box office hits where applied creatively. Now the individual stories, though, have real lessons to be learned.

Learning, as the ancient Polynesians tell us, is four-fold:
  1. subjective - how you feel about it
  2. objective - how it works
  3. symbolic - what it stands for
  4. holistic - how it fits in
So stories can hit on many, many levels.

But the trick is to tell the emotional ones - those are the only ones which can make a difference to an individual. And those are the stories we remember.

It's not the acting, not the personalities, not the quality of presentation - although all these play the part.

Movies that are great are because they are emotional - they connect on a feeling level with their audience.

Rudyard Kipling's "Jungle Book" was a hit as a book, as a movie, as an animated feature.

Shakespeare is a great play, but also a great read, and has spawned both direct-to-film versions (especially Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet), as well as inspiring spin-offs such as West Side Story, among others.

Look for the feelings in your life and eliminate those things which make you feel bad. Go for things which keep you consistently upbeat all the time. And your life will start being composed of only success and wins and good health.

Follow your passion, follow your bliss. Those are the keys to all of this.

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