What will stick with you more? Statistics or stories?
You might be like me and be able to say “Both”, but if I think about my answer more deeply, statistics only really mean something to me if they connect with a story that I find meaningful.
Let me give you an example. A stat that I am fond of sharing is that we use 1,000,000,000 single-use plastic bags per minute here in North America, and each of those bags has an average working life of 15 minutes. Those are scary stats, but only because they connect to the story I have been gathering and following about climate change. Each of those bags is a little more warming and a millimeter of carelessness that brings us closer to the cliff edge of species collapse.
Scary, right? That’s why I share it so often. And that’s why I remember it.
Meaning is generated through story.
You don’t want to be told what to do or how to feel, right? Neither do I. What I do want is a connection. I want to feel like the person who wrote what I am reading gets me, like they understand my life, my struggles, my values. I want to feel like they are inside my head. That is what gets me every time.
Everyone that I follow, that I adore, that inspire and challenge me has made me feel this way. And so I stick around.
Have you ever had that feeling? Like, you read a social post, or a blog post, or listen to a podcast and think “Omg, do they have camera’s in my HOUSE?”, or “I never knew anyone else felt like that, they must be inside my head.”
That YES feeling. That “Omg ME TOO.” feeling. That one that makes you realize that you are not as alone as you feel.
You don’t get that from facts, or science (well, there’s science behind it, but that’s a touch beside the point at the moment), you get that feeling through STORY. Story is what facilitates connection. Facts come from the head and are aimed at the head. We humans don’t connect through our heads. Our heads are actually wired for competition. That part of me and you is incredibly dualistic: right wrong, good bad, yes no. If you’re not with me, you’re against me.
We connect with the heart. There is a brain there, did you know that? I didn’t always, but there is solid science emerging pointing to our hearts, and our guts also acting as brain’s in their own right. And the heart is where connection happens. Hearts exert to give, and they relax to receive. And they FEEL. I don’t touch your mind with my stories, I touch your heart.
How do I do that?
I call on sensations, textures, emotions, physical sensations. I paint a picture with words, and draw you into that moment with me, and connect with our common humanity. If you are feeling it with me, then I have done my job well.
What’s my point here?
If you are creating any kind of content – be it social media, blogs, podcasts, articles, anything – if you want to create connection, you have to tell a story. A story gives meaning to the facts that ground your idea, or product in the trustworthiness of scientific backing, and makes it mean something to the person reading it.
Facts + Story = Connection
You’re not telling your readers what to do, you’re telling them what you did and how it made you feel. They feel seen, understood, and a little less alone.
Give it a try 🙂
I will tell you if it doesn’t come naturally to you at first, that is totally ok. It didn’t for me either, here’s a little tip to get you started. Start keeping your eye out for moments in your life that will help you tell your story, and then practice digging into those moments, mining for authenticity, depth, feeling…mining for the YOU in the universe. It’s YOU people connect with.