Saturday, February 23, 2013

Storytelling and your brain

I just read a great article about the science behind storytelling, called What Storytelling Does to our Brains by Leo Widrich.

We all are getting pushed to use Powerpoint presentations, because that's the latest and greatest thing.
And yet.
And yet.
It turns out that things like powerpoint aren't the best way to get your message across.
(raise your hands if you've ever felt yourself falling asleep during a powerpoint presentation. Yup.  Me too.)

The brain is wired to react to storytelling.  It's looking for a beginning, a middle, and a satisfying ending. Keep this in mind the next time you prepare your presentation.

My take on this?
Go ahead and use your powerpoint to "illustrate" your story, but focus mainly on the story you want/ need to tell.

1 comment:

laurasalas said...

Adding this article to my to-read list--thanks. I just saw a great speech Saturday by author/illustrator David LaRochelle, and he was the perfect example of a storyteller-speaker. He started with an anecdote that resulted in failure, shared his path as a writer and as an illustrator in a humble but wonderful, funny way that gave props to the many teachers in the audience, and then ended with his forthcoming book that will be a real pinnacle for him, as it's the first book he's both written and illustrated at the same time. And he tied that pinnacle book directly back to that failure at the beginning in a way that was funny and made the audience want to cheer out loud. I thought at the time, what a great model for a keynote speech. And, this has me thinking even about my school visits where I'm not giving a speech so much (because it's very interactive), but my endings to my lessons, etc., tend to feel a little flat, I think. I need to work more on that story element and an ending that ties back to the beginning. Thanks, Wendie!