The Power of a Story
You’re absorbed in reading a great story. Your mind is in the story–you don’t answer the phone, your coffee gets cold, you may stay up until 2 a.m. reading. Is this what happens when visitors to your Web site read the copy on the site? Or do they see the usual sales talk.
To keep our sanity in today’s world, where we constantly encounter sales messages we build up considerable sales resistance. This resistance goes up automatically–we may not even notice it–whenever we hear the usual “persuasive” words of ad-speak. Lots of evaluative adjectives can set off sales resistance–and once it’s in place, nothing else that you communicate will be accepted easily.
What Makes an Effective Story?
Green and Brock published results of their research that show that a factor called “transportation” is a mechanism whereby a story can actually effect beliefs–whether the story is presented as factual or fictional. By “transportation” they meant the extent to which the story absorbed the attention of the reader; it involves imagery, emotion and the focus of attention. This tells us that if we tell an effective story, not only can we grab our reader’s attention, but we can change opinions!
How Do I Write a Story?
To write an effective story, use imagery–use actual images to help portray the message, or paint a mental picture of the situation.
Suspense is a time-tested technique; we all want to see how something turns out.
To persuade your reader to change–and adopt your approach–have the story talk about that very change.