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It’s never been harder to stand out from the crowd.
“Our attention is under attack,” says Steve Clayton, Microsoft’s chief storyteller and general manager of the company’s Innovation, Culture and Stories team. “By the time we start our workday, we’ve been bombarded with around 20 gigabytes of data.”
For Clayton—whose work includes everything from communicating benefits to 130,000 employees, to shooting a video, to create a holographic version of himself that speaks Chinese—the way to capture and keep attention is through storytelling.
However, not any story will do.
As humans, we’re not predisposed to remember data. And data doesn’t often make for a great story. Thus, the answer is stories – we’re predisposed to consume, tell, embellish and retell stories and the more human interest those stories have, the more likely they are to break through the clutter trying to grab our attention every day.
Here five ways you can breathe life into your storytelling efforts:
1. Highlight the people driving your narratives.
To excel at human storytelling, you must focus on the people at the heart of your content.
“Without people, there really is no story,” Clayton says.
Most great stories (think Hollywood movies) are about people who go on a journey than has ups, downs, challenges and transformation. That’s the classic approach to story—the so-called Hero’s Journey—and our imagination is captured by following this journey and a desire to know the outcome.
Center your story on people, but don’t