The Importance of Storytelling

by Jennifer Martinez

Communication is at the centre of all human activity. Companies persuade customers to buy their products. Recent graduates pitch themselves in job interviews. And it’s not just verbal communication, but also written communication. Students write to define themselves in college admission essays. Communication is an essential human skill.

Yet, many find it difficult to not only persuade their audience, but also to even get their ideas across. Companies with valuable products struggle to sell their product. Ivy League graduates are rejected from their dream jobs. Straight-A students fail to receive admission to their first choice schools.

Why did they all fail? Why is persuasion so hard? Why is communication – an essential human skill – so difficult?

They failed because they neglected to tell a story. They failed to make their audience listen, really listen, to them. Storytelling is the most effective way to engage listeners. A good story unites not only ideas, but also emotions. A good story evokes the listener’s emotions and energy.

Why is a story necessary? Why is storytelling important in business activity? In acquiring a job?

Storytelling is important because stories – good stories – are memorable. Humans are more likely to remember a story that made them cry, inspired them, or moved them in some way. The company with a good story will be more likely to attract customers' attention. The graduate with a story filled with perseverance will be able to inspire others. The student with a story of his passions and interests will be able to better convey an image of who he is to the admission officers.

Yet, despite communication being an essential human skill, not many people are skillful communicators. Not many people recognise or acknowledge the benefits of learning how to tell a story. When so much of our lives revolve around communicating, storytelling is truly the key to success.

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