Telling a story–regardless of whether it’s fact or fiction–is an art. But sometimes the knowledge of certain fact is more interesting than fiction and makes life way more interesting and beautiful. Fiction, on the other hand, inspires hope, stirs the imagination, and highlights possibilities.
Whenever we tell a story to someone, there are at least four areas of considerations of whether this story is being communicated successfully:
- Whether the story is even being told, and subsequently how well the story is being expressed in words or otherwise;
- Whether the listener has the initial interest to listen, and subsequently whether he/she appreciates the story.
So there are 4 quadrants to story-telling. And this shows clearly that story-telling is not a static process, but dynamic. Let’s look at each of the four:
A) Whether the story is even being told.
This happens when people assume stuffs about their listeners. It happens a lot!! They do not know what their listeners do not know, and hence do not know what makes themselves special.
For instance, a huge wine lover might assume that everyone knows what is Bordeaux, because it’s perhaps the simplest and most oft-thing heard of when you talk about wine. Now this is not a valid assumption, because for instance–I found out only yesterday from the boss of a wine company that it is a huge region in France, AND that a lot of people are misusing the name of this region to sell wine.
So it means a lot of people don’t actually know exactly what is Bordeaux. Whereas I don’t even know what it is. 😀
Basically if I didn’t ask the (silly) question of “Erm, sorry ah, but what is this Bordeaux? Why do you keep saying it?” He won’t be telling me, because he thinks this fact is so basic that everyone knows. He might even think that it’s an insult to clarify this term, if I didn’t ask. And if I didn’t clarify what Bordeaux is, I think I’d be switching off for the rest of the conversation.
B) How well the story is being expressed in words or otherwise.
I think some folks have beautiful, stunning ideas in their mind, but they simply just lack the ability to express this story or sentiment well.
So in the end, this story is never told or badly expressed– and will fail to capture the audiences’ interests.
C) No matter how technically skilled the storyteller is, there is such a thing as zero interest on the part of the listener.
Again, this is because marketing is a dynamic and not static art. If you fail to understand the heart of the audience– that’s it– you fail to get his/her attention or appreciation. The problem however, is that most people are polite and will not tell you in your face that they really don’t give a damn about your product, or your stories, because it’s irrelevant to their lives.
Who gives a damn about you? But everyone gives a damn about themselves, and people important to them.
In a business context, therefore, you have to know the heart of your listener. By extension, if you can find a market gap where not many knows the heart of this one particular group of listener, but you know–then you have found at least one secret of the universe.
D) Whether the listener has the capacity for new and beautiful things in his/her life.
This is basically a “mood” element. Sometimes people are just in a foul mood, and will reject new, beautiful things presented just at the boundaries of his/her life. This is why we should always tell stories or educate people about something when they are in a good mood.
Or sometimes people just refuse to be open-minded, or bear heavy (unresolved) burdens from the past. Then it’s really too bad, and much of a pity really, because they let their ego/ prisons of the past affect their future.
I wrote this post because I am going to helm a new project soon, and as much as it is exciting and of much value, I kept wondering why I saw “it” so late. Yet perhaps, the best secrets of the universe are always delicately and softly hidden from plain sight.