Mase is a storyteller based out of Seattle, Washington. Oddly Exceptional explores experience design, goal deconstruction, and intentional living.

If You Want to Change the World, Learn How to Tell a Good Story

If you want to change the world, you need to convince someone that you're right. 

Read that sentence again.

By "change the world", I mean "make any change, big or small". 

That change can be inwardly-focused. The "someone" can be you.

That change can be outwardly-focused. The "someone" can be a friends, family, coworkers, management, customers, or complete strangers. 

Daniel Pink said it best in the title of one of his books: To Sell Is Human

We're constantly selling people, whether it's on a product, opportunity, or idea. Fundamentally, "selling", in all of its various forms, is storytelling

Good stories envelop the listener, momentarily taking them out of the present moment and showing them something that happened in the past, is happening elsewhere currently, or could happen in the future. A good storyteller guides a listener from this exact current moment—the current setting in which the story is being told—adds the appropriate context to make the story relevant to the listener, tells the story in the best appropriate format for the setting, and guides them toward some end, be it a punchline, extraordinary situation, or lesson.

Storytelling is understanding where the listener is, and guiding them to where they need to go. Recruiting is storytelling. Both interviewing and being interviewed are storytelling. Product research and development is storytelling. Marketing is storytelling. Sales is storytelling. User Experience is storytelling. 

Stories spur people to action. Stories make people quit jobs. Stories make a candidate want to spend six hours in a room proving their skills, and convince a manager to take chance on them. Stories change the shape of products and rally teams of people to build them. Stories about those products convince yet other people to buy them. Stories turns a stranger into a customer. Stories tell your customers how to succeed with the product they bought. 

Stories win and lose elections. 

Stories win and lose wars. 

Stories build and destroy nations. 

If you want to change the world, learn how to tell a good story.


Consider the Next Larger Context