In my role as head of talent acquisition for Delphic Digital, you could say that I listen to candidates’ stories for a living. And because enabling our clients to tell their own stories over multiple digital platforms also happens to be one of Delphic Digital’s main goals as a company, I’ve become rather interested in this whole storytelling topic in general.
The valuable skill of storytelling
We all have stories to tell. This is a good thing, because according to recent trends, storytelling may very well end up being the most valuable skill a working person can have in the next five years. Storytelling has become the front and center of the content and marketing process. Add into the mix platforms such as Kickstarter and other crowdfunding portals, storytelling is often the key factor in just getting a project off the ground.
Science and the seven stories
The science of storytelling is even more fascinating! Storytelling helps to persuade the listener and makes an idea stick in their head, but when you go deeper into the psychology of storytelling, the receiver of a story often perceives that story as a gift, which creates a reciprocal compulsion. You start to understand the real influence of a good story – and desire to tell stories yourself!
Sometimes, though, you might feel like you keep hearing the same story over and over again…don’t worry, you’re not crazy! Most story plots can actually be broken down into seven categories. If there are only seven categories, what separates just a story from a GOOD story? It has to be more that a beginning, middle and an end, right?! There is a lot of debate about what makes a good story and a good storyteller…but for me, the top three factors have got to be:
Emotion – Allowing others to connect to the story. Empathetic emotion is one of the key elements to drawing people into the story in the first place, but emotion also keeps them listening. A good story will often make a person cry, laugh, smile, and feel a myriad of other emotions throughout its duration; good stories know how to make listeners become invested in listening the whole way through.
Characters – A good story needs a group of dynamic, interesting, and relatable characters – just think of Star Wars or Lord of the Rings. But remember – you don’t have to tell an epic fantasy in order to have interesting characters: everybody (even you!) has talents, experiences, and have known other people in their lives that have impressed them, shown bravery, been funny, etc. Often times, the best character inspirations come from our own lives and the people we interact with every day, and some of the best stories are about our own experiences!
You LOVE telling the story – If you enjoy telling a story, you won’t be able to help showing your enthusiasm for it! Once you love telling a story, you’ll want to tell it more often, adding to it and embellishing it with every new telling. For example…
A story I love telling
Before joining Delphic, I published an arts magazine where we often promoted bands and organized concerts. One time, we organized a mini festival with seven bands, the Bright Lights Festival, where Elbow (UK Mercury award winning indie band) were headlining. I like telling stories about this festival because there were so many incidents that ended up going wrong before the actual concert. First off, Elbow likes to record a lot of their music on Mull, an Island in Scotland. That would have been no problem…if they had been contactable and had signed the contracts for the event before they had headed off there! Because of the lack of service on the island, it left us with two panic stricken promoters tossing a coin to see if they should start promoting the event or not (without knowing if Elbow would really be performing).
In addition, a change of venue one month before the concert due to fire regulations, an unexpected ice storm, and an ice hockey game going into overtime on the night of the concert all make for an even more outrageous story overall… but it’s interesting how, over time, the entire story as a whole has changed in the telling. The story I love telling now has morphed into its own thing: bigger, greater, and funnier than what actually happened. But is that really a bad thing? If I’m able to connect with others, keep them invested, and share a bit of my life with them in a way that’s relatable, interesting, and of course, hilarious – then I’ve managed to do something that many companies try to do every single day: keep people engaged, and interacting with their product. A good storyteller knows how to take from reality and craft a story that will keep people coming back for more…and in the end, that’s exactly what marketing a business is all about!
Telling the Delphic story
Nowadays, I’m helping to create more fun stories as part of the team at Delphic Digital. If you would like to hear more about the Delphic story, and the sort of stories we create for others, then we would love to hear your story! Right now, we’re looking for copywriters, as well as a number of developers, but you can guarantee that all storytellers are welcome. Click here to check out our current job postings!