A friend asked me for a comment to include in an article he's writing. The topic's one of my favorites: story-telling. Maybe I'm just being Southern, but I'm always telling stories, whether it's in a professional or personal setting. Here's what I told my pal:
As for story-telling -- it's how humans communicate most effectively. It's no accident that stories were the first way we conveyed important information: lessons learned, cautionary tales, triumphal epics. They're also personal--so they create a stronger connection with other people. I'm not saying there's no place for your hockey-stick revenue projection slide or your list of data points. Of course you need them. But couching them in a story, or book-ending them with anecdotes, gives them critical context. And that creates impact.
Here's an example: Last night I was on a webinar sales pitch. Sounds awful doesn't it? But it wasn't. The hostess peppered her sales pitch with lots of anecdotes about her own experience with the product or competing products. They were authentic and honest, and it made the data points provided by the company so much more palatable.
But don't take my word for it. Here's an interesting read about the science of story-telling from the Buffer* blog : The Science of Story-Telling: Why telling a story is the most powerful way to activate our brains.