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  • Amanya Mathur

Storytelling : A Powerful Tool

Stories have always had a beautiful impact on the human mind. Storytelling originated with visual stories, such as cave drawings, and then shifted to oral storytelling, which was passed down generations. These stories were painted with the imagination of the storyteller, supplemented by rhythmic music and singing. As these stories were told and retold, they were embroidered with each version.

Humans are empathetic creatures. Our brain responds to stories as they cultivate emotions in us, and engage our imagination and creativity. They give us a sense of togetherness - a connection. Stories make us feel like we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.

When engaged in the pleasant experience of listening to a story, we relate it with our personal experiences. Our brain reacts to the story as if we were experiencing it ourselves. The data within the story becomes memorable and impactful, and as we get more intrigued, the hormone oxytocin is released which enhances feelings of trust and empathy.

Leaders all over the world recognize storytelling as a powerful tool. The evident shift to storytelling in business communication has been successful in overcoming hurdles of command communication styles. Storytelling ignites a spark of interest for the product or company, and helps connect to the audience on an emotional level .

Storytelling clarifies the objective of an organization. Stories are used to resonate ideas with the audience. When the brain sees or hears a story, its neurons fire in the same pattern as the speaker’s brain. This is known as neural coupling. This enables the listener to convert the ideas presented in the story into their own experiences.

Elon Musk has undeniably become the best future storyteller of the business world. His ideas start with an inspiring purpose, such as SpaceX’s goal to sustain life through a new civilization beyond Earth, or Tesla’s drive to accelerate the shift to clean energy. His captivating stories for organizations such as Hyperloop, The Boring Company, Neuralink and Open AI have created irresistible momentum and have won hearts.

While telling a story, one must keep three principles in mind - simplicity, inclusivity, and consistency. To generate momentum for an idea, the people must recognize our expertise. However, cramming too much information into our speech can hinder rather than help. Our story must consist of an enthralling journey broken down into simple challenges and must be promise focused on the benefits. An important mantra to keep in mind would be “the right story at the right time to the right people.”

Inclusivity - of both hearts and minds - is pivotal while telling a story. We must attempt to comprehend the way people make sense of the world, and their beliefs. We should make them feel that there is a role for them in our story, so that it can become theirs too. For example, SpaceX anchors their storytelling in the idea that space exploration is innate to us. This has definitely helped them win more support.


Consistency in a story is simply staying true to our ideas. While we must continually change our stories to adapt to new notions, consistency and authenticity maximize the interest of our audience.


The love for stories in humans will continue to grow, and we must not simply tell stories. Stories should make the listener envision a bright future, fill them with hope, and make them feel something.

“We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” — Jonathan Gottschall

The art of storytelling










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