Power of Storytelling

Hardwired for storytelling helps build our community

Conway Institute of Music

“Our brains are hardwired for storytelling.”

Perhaps you have heard that phrase before. Really, all it takes is a quick search on the internet and you will find a number of sources making this claim.

Storytelling is a central to our lives. I truly believe that.

That’s why I think are “souls are hardwired for storytelling.”

Research by Dr. Paul Zak shows that our body responds to storytelling by releasing a chemical called oxytocin.

That is the same chemical released when a mother bonds with her baby. Usually, it is known as the “love hormone.”

Anyone who has heard me talk about storytelling has likely heard me talk about it.

It fascinates me.

I remember the first time someone extolled the virtues of storytelling.

My friend Chad was giving a presentation about the power of storytelling complete with examples.

He referred to a lady at Stanford named Dr. Jennifer Aaker. And with that, it led me down the path of learning more about how storytelling relates to what we do.

During the day, when I am not working on Conway Scene, I help companies take advantage of storytelling to create a more memorable message.

The Storytellers

Get off My Lawn band, master storytellers
Get off My Lawn band, master storytellers

Our community needs the storytellers. They help us remember legacies; they give us joy; they help build our community and give us a sense of connectiveness.

We find storytellers in a number of people: artists, historians, authors, musicians, the theatricians, and the teachers. You talk to storytellers every day. Some people are natural-born storytellers. Others work hard to become storytellers.

Thus, we storytellers everywhere we look.

We are fortunate to have storytellers in Conway. We have featured many here on Conway Scene, including various musicians, baristas, artists, and more.

Looking for the Storytellers.

Conway native and Country music star Erin Enderlin once told me she was attracted to Country music because of storytelling. Recently, artist Faye Hedera has been learning the stories of her subjects for her 100 Faces of Conway Project.

This summer, you may enjoy the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre productions and hear and see the stories of old.

Perhaps you have read the book “Markham Street” by local author Ronnie Williams.

We often tell our own stories. Rickey Gulley has shared stories with me about Conway several times over. I learn more about Conway each time I visit with Rickey.

You often can find stories at the coffee shops where friends will visit over a cup of coffee.

Storytelling is essential for quality of life in our community.

Hearing stories in the coffee shop
Hearing stories in the coffee shop

Qualities of Storytelling

According to Dr. Jennifer Aaker, storytelling is memorable, impactful, and personable.
In fact, according to Aaker, stories are 22 times more memorable than facts. That is astonishing.
There is power in storytelling. There is power to remember. There is power to connect because they are personable.

And, all that said, there is power to make an impact. Storytelling moves someone to take action.

Have you ever watched a TED or TEDx talk and felt compelled to take action? The presenter likely did a great job of using storytelling to cement the facts he or she was discussing.

All of these qualities are why you remember the lyrics to a song when you can barely remember your last phone number.

A good, quality story can help your business or organization make an impact, bring a cause, become personable to someone or simply remember the reason for the need.

Don’t be afraid to embrace storytelling. Celebrate the arts! Storytelling is the bond that allows us to connect as a community.

Go forth and tell stories. At the coffee shop or the café, tell stories. During the holidays, tell stories. Around the big ole Christmas tree, tell stories.

And when you see me, out and about, stop and tell me a story.

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