Stories: Good for the Soul

The Lion’s Gaze

It’s no secret that stories are my life. Frankly, I think they should be yours too. I mean, really, who doesn’t like a good yarn?

A great storyteller is the one with the bigger audience at the party, the bigger laughs, the stronger connection. As you head home from that party, you may not remember all of those stories, but you will feel good. And you’ll remember who made you feel good. And — you’ll tell other folks about the person who made you feel good.

Take that premise away from the party and apply it to business and to your brand. The story your brand tells is arguably more important than the product your selling. Not saying style over substance, but style as important as substance.

A pot isn’t just a pot. Who cares? But a pot that your mother used to lovingly cook your favorite meal — that emitted the mind-bending fragrance that floated from the kitchen to the front door, that inspired a deep breath, pinched your nose and immediately brought joy — THAT pot, is worth a lot.

A great story gets passed on from person to person, friend to friend, group to group. It earns confidence and faith. It builds momentum. It builds a following. It aligns us. This, according to a Princeton University study which shows people’s brains synchronize when they’re hearing the same story. In other words, they are joined by a shared experience. So, it makes sense, if that shared experience is a great one, they’ll want to share it again and again. They’ll want more.

Good communication, really, is just good storytelling. That doesn’t mean bending people to our will, rather, it means inspiring people to walk with us.

Applied to disruptive technologies, that story can lead people, eagerly, to a better solution. Applied to leadership, a compelling story invites loyal followers and makes them feel comfortable enough to share their own stories.

A gallup poll last year shows good communication is the #1 attribute of good leaders.

A better argument might be that communication IS storytelling and drives our relationships with our colleagues, peers, audience and buyers. In a book written by Dr. Murray Nossel, of Columbia University, the principal point is connection, or more importantly, the quality of that connection. And with a better story, we get a deeper, more resonant relationship — a more powerful connection.

It is, he says, “our lion’s gaze”

Have you ever seen a lion’s gaze? It’s compelling. It draws you in. You can’t pull away. Isn’t that just what you want in your leader? In your brand? In your story?