If you think storytelling is just Cinderella, Grimms' Fairy Tales and a touch of dramatic flair then you'll be surprised to know it goes a whole lot deeper.
As one of the oldest forms of communication and learning, storytelling is an art full of surprises... Here are 5 facts about stories and storytelling that are sure to change your opinions!
Fact 1: A good story causes your brain to release a chemical that makes you more empathetic
A team of researchers in the UK found that the brains of people who listened to character driven stories released oxytocin, a chemical connected to feelings of love and empathy.
That means just by sharing your information in a story format, you're more likely to make an emotional connection which is a whole lot more memorable. Plus, when it comes to creating characters, this doesn't have to mean developing brand new identities. Your customer or target audience can be the main character of your story to ensure it hits home.
Fact 2: More than half of all Hollywood movies follow the same plot
Most successful movies follow a narrative arc known as the ‘hero’s journey.’ Scientists think that this narrative structure is deeply embedded into our collective psyche, and may have helped our ancestors build trust and teach morality.
But this plot format isn't just for epic films and movies, the hero in your story can be your customer or audience. The key is just to make their journey relatable, picking up on their own struggles or aims.
Fact 3: According to studies, 65% of our daily conversations are based on storytelling
Think about the conversations you had today. Maybe a colleague asked how your weekend was or perhaps your partner told you about their day. Chances are, each of those conversations would have featured stories, you were telling the story of what happened over your weekend or learning about the trials and tribulations of your partner's day.
We love telling stories to explain what's going on in our lives. Fun stories, stories about daily frustrations, stories about colleagues and we most love stories about our enemies...
Fact 4: Every culture in the world has a Cinderella story
Now we know what we said about Cinderella in the start of this blog... But the thing is, all jokes aside Cinderella is one of the most popular story structures in the world.
There are thousands of variants of the Cinderella story found throughout the world. Anna Rooth wrote about this in her book The Cinderella Cycle. The oldest written version, Ye Xian, comes from China in 860. Ye Xian is kind and hardworking and helped by the spirit of her murdered mother who comes to her in the form of a fish. Variations of this have played out in stories around the world, including possibly the most famous, the Disney adaptation.
Fact 5: The first known story was written in 3,400 BC!
History’s oldest known fictional story is the 'Epic of Gilgamesh', an adventure-filled tale that centers on a king named Gilgamesh who's described as one-third man and two-thirds god. Over the course of twelve clay tablets’ worth of text, he goes on a classic hero’s journey that sees him slay monsters, rub elbows with the gods and search for the key to immortality—all with predictably tragic results.
So there we have it, 5 storytelling facts that blew our mind (and probably yours). Clearly storytelling is a lot older than we thought, plays a crucial role in our conversations and society and even changes the chemistry in our brains!
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