“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
-Author Maya Angelou
We had 90 minutes of class time behind us and another 90 minutes to go, but when we walked back into the classroom and I saw our teacher standing next to a 90’s style boom box and wearing a long trench coat and a coy smirk on her face I immediately knew that something was up. We were curious about what our conservative straight-laced teacher was up to, so we quickly took our seats without making a sound. She relished in our silent curiosity for several minutes before she hit the play button on the boom box and quickly removed her trench coat to reveal a bold red sequined and fringed flappers outfit while she began quickly moving her feet to demonstrate something she called “The Charleston.” It was only a few seconds before the classroom erupted into clapping and cheering and I decided that taking AP US History may have been a smart move after all.
I took AP US History while I was a high school student a little over a decade ago, but I remember that Saturday morning when my teacher surprised us all with her rhythm and cardio endurance while she danced the “The Charleston” to help introduce us to American 1920’s history. I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday morning, but I remember how she turned a class that was usually a PowerPoint assisted lecture into an engaging and entertaining event. As Maya Angelou says in the quote above, I remember how she made me feel.
Storytelling goes beyond simply listing valuable facts, providing formulas for success or defining the universal principles for a great life. Storytelling gives information an emotional framework that inspires a feeling that people remember. As an author, you may not be able to break out into a dance before your readers’ eyes, but you can punctuate your message with powerful stories. Author Jacqueline Whitmore wrote an article in Entrepreneur magazine that encourages entrepreneurs to use stories and metaphors to help readers connect with you on a personal level, that help establish you as an authority, that simplify complex ideas, expand your realm of influence and that give you a competitive advantage. The same benefits apply to authorpreneurs.
Stay tuned for more posts that dig into storytelling examples and tips, but if you’re too eager to wait, here are a few posts I’ve found that offer great examples and tips: