This post was written by our Director of Behavioural Learning and Head of our Perform division, Roger Ayres. 

Storytelling sticks. The brain has evolved and stories prompt an audience to relate the teller’s story to themselves, making them personal and relatable.

We have all been bombarded with PowerPoint presentations full of bullet points and uninspiring management speak. And with the best will in the world, our recall is scant. But we can remember a relevant anecdote or intriguing narrative readily. Why? The answer is partly in the delivery (the Art) and partly in the technique (the Science).

Let’s start with the science. When we speak in standard, professional language we only appeal to the language processing part of the brain in our audience. They will then decode the words to derive meaning, but nothing else. Only that small part of the brain is activated. However, when we tell a story different parts of the brain light-up – the sensory cortex, the motor cortex, the insula (an emotional brain region) – which means a compelling story is literally more memorable as more of the brain is active.

The art is in the telling. Everything from using a compelling structure to build intrigue and interest; from imaginative use of language such as imagery, metaphor and personification, through to using energy, voice and body language to add variety and tone to your communication and emphasising key moments.

For more on developing your Storytelling Skills, you can contact me directly on LinkedIn @Roger Ayres or visit our Perform page.