Experiential Storytelling

All storytelling is experiential. Maybe just not the way you intended.

Don't get caught up in the mumbo jumbo of marketing-speak to understand the bottom line of all effective storytelling: engagement. Storytelling is about connecting with your audience's heart (emotion) and their head (thought). When storytelling is successful, you magically connect both the heart and the head, resulting in your audience experiencing -- feeling -- and expressing -- acting -- in the way you intended.

Truly effective, measurable, and successful storytelling is hard work. Although attributed to different people, the sentiment remains true, "Writing is easy. You just sit down, open a vein, and bleed." Ask any marketeer, novelist, brand manager, politician, screenwriter, preacher, teacher, CEO, or playwright if their job is easy.

Why is storytelling so hard? Because it's easy to make noise, talk, talk, talk, or write what you think is important. But if your story doesn't resonate with your audience, if you don't get people to turn and face you, start moving in your direction, suspend their present reality to consider your point-of-view (that is if you even have a point of view), and end up feeling exactly as you want them to feel, you're not communicating, not being an effective storyteller.

Storytelling starts in myriad ways. How it ends is to successfully create the environment for your audience to experience your intended result. To cry when you want them to cry. Laugh when you want them to laugh. Scream when you want them to scream. To buy your product or service again and again. To change their point of view, switch brands, not be afraid.

All storytelling is experiential. What's important, though, is does your audience, customers, and constituency truly experience what you want them to? How do you want people to feel? What do you want them to do? Why is your story important? That experience is why you're a storyteller.