Stuff We Love: The Art of Storytelling with Ron Tite

July 20, 2016 Ophelie Zalcmanis-Lai, Content Editor

“I’m not a good storyteller, I don’t have any stories.”

False. Everyone is a storyteller; they just don’t realize it.

For brands, marketers and even individuals, elevating the conversation is important. People used to vote with their wallets, but now they vote with their time. The competition is cat videos, not companies offering similar products. Creating experiences is what gets in between that.

How to create experiences? Storytelling. It’s everyone’s fear, it’s commonly misconstrued as a fluffy skill, yet it’s what gives things depth. Depth is what helps differentiate within the clutter.

Matthew Ley, president of The Streaming Network and host on Better Webinars, has Ron Tite lay out the goods on The Art of Storytelling.

In between conspiring to get free stuff from The Westin Grand and thinking about how many views cat videos get over actual sponsored content, this hour gave us the intro, climax and resolution on five key points.

Here are our highlights:

1. There’s always a story to tell.

Admittedly, it’s hard to come up with stories to tell on the fly. It’s the same kind of pressure when someone asks “how would you describe yourself in one sentence?” Yet, the stories are sitting in the recesses of the brain waiting to be told.

The important part is recognizing that they can be told in different places and that they don’t have to be personal. Besides, people don’t want to hear other people talk about themselves forever. Get over yourself.

Telling someone else’s tale? Don’t worry, no one is accusing you of pulling a Melania Trump (unless you’re trying to make it your own story in which case, tsk tsk). It’s about seeing how one occurrence can add value to and enhance a point of view or argument.

Ron illustrates this by telling the story of Blue Man Group.

2. Surprise: you’re a storyteller.

“Oh, I’m no good at telling stories.” Oh that’s too bad, but how did you meet your significant other? Cue the descriptive language and scenery. Now that’s what we’re talking about.

When people tell stories to others, they naturally know how to make use of the “aha” moments, where they can insert their commentary and when people start to get excited. It just happens as the conversation flows.

That means it’s natural. And this means storytelling is a natural skill.

Need more proof? Watch below. 

3. Yelling in more places, with more urgency doesn’t work.

There. Are. Ads. Everywhere. Anywhere people go nowadays, someone pesters them with deal announcements and wads of coupons.

This is just desperate-looking and no one wants that. Stories are what elevates the pitch-slap and takes away the slap. It makes people care because they can relate to stories. Everyone has a story and everyone wants to know what happens next.

They don’t want a piece of paper with colourful letters and numbers followed by percentage signs.

Ron explains how to steer out of this area.

4. Nobody uses a presentation deck to put their kids to bed.

So why would you use it to tell any other story? People understand the structure of stories well and it’s something that has been engrained in the minds of audiences everywhere.

There’s a beginning, a middle and an end. Good stuff happens and sometimes bad stuff happens.

Ron points out why people just get it.

5. “It’s not about being funny, it’s about being effective.”

Don’t force being funny. That’s not what telling great stories is all about. Sure, start with a little entertainment for impact but don’t worry about keeping a clown nose on for the whole duration of the story.

Once people find a reason to be hooked, they’ll stay hooked. Why? Because they care. They’ve latched onto something that has piqued their interest and they want to keep moving forward.

Case in point: the opening scene from HBO series The Newsroom.

This here is where storytelling is at.

Data and metrics are great for backup evidence, but no one wants to stare at graphs all day or point out outlier areas. As the webinar pointed out, data can help you make important decisions but it shouldn’t speak for you.

Stories speak for you. So collect them. Curate them. Tell them widely. People will listen.

To see the entire tale behind this webinar, visit Better Webinars episode page for The Art of Storytelling. To watch more excerpts from the series, check out The Streaming Network’s YouTube channel for clips of past episodes. 

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