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#InfographicInspiration: Persuasion and Storytelling

#InfographicInspiration: Persuasion and Storytelling published on 13 Comments on #InfographicInspiration: Persuasion and Storytelling

If you think about it, you already know that storytelling is persuasive. Picture any commercial that you’ve seen that really caught your attention. Chances are high that it included some kind of a story. It might have included people telling a story as a testimonial for why the product or service is good, or it might depict a story that demonstrates why the product or service is good.

Storytelling can work well in professional writing too. When you work on a proposal for a client, you want to include details the demonstrate why your ideas are the best ones. This week’s #InfographicInspiration outlines why storytelling can be so persuasive for readers.

Storytelling: The Most Effective Way to Engage and Persuade People
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Note: This infographic needs a text-based transcript. See the Optional Accessibility Transcript Activity for more details.


 

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Mark Marut
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Mark Marut

Even though I’ve never participated in one of these types of experiments, or looked at the results for these experiments, it makes sense that when more descriptive or engaging words are used, those parts of your brain are lighting up more. When I’m reading a book or an article, if better language/metaphors/verbs are used it keeps me more engaged and interested, probably because I am relating those words to a specific memory/experience or motor function. However, I think there is also a time and place to use this type of writing. When you are writing a technical report, the purpose is not necessarily to keep the reader engaged, but it is to give the reader all the information about a project, and these are usually written under tight deadlines. In order to incorporate these techniques in writing takes a lot of though and time. I would argue that it is almost easier to write out a technical report once you have all the information.

Depending on the audience and purpose, there is always a time and a place for this type of writing, going forward, I would assume these articles are meant to help us with our last couple of major writing projects, so I will take these into account, and try to incorporate some of this “story telling technique” into the genre analysis.

Mariel Jastrebsky
Guest
Mariel Jastrebsky

I also think that there’s a time and place for persuasive writing. I agree when you’re talking about how technical reports are more easy to write because you aren’t concerned with being able to keep the audience engaged and make the argument persuasive, you’re simply giving the audience the information they need. I did find it interesting how metaphors make the audience more engaged and using texture words such as “velvet” instead of “pleasant” makes the wiring seem more sophisticated and enjoyable to listen to because it’s a word that not everybody uses in their story telling.

Mariel Jastrebsky
Guest
Mariel Jastrebsky

I think this infographic is something that is important to know and understand just in everyday life because, as the infographic said, people tell stories every day and have been doing so for more than 40,000 years. If there are stories being told every day, I think knowing how to tell a good story is something that’s necessary for doing well in the workplace, and also because it’s a social skill many people will be more willing to listen to what you have to say if it’s in a pleasing way. many times people ramble, forget details, or tell a story with no point to it. After reading the infographic it’s easy to see that if you’re engaged and use words that aren’t normally used in every day language, it’ll persuade your audience even more.

This is somewhat related to the infographic, but I just recently listened to a podcast on body language and I think when telling a story in person, or even persuading people with a proposal, your body language can either hurt or help your case. Having crossed arms or standing with your hips faced a different direction can insinuate that you aren’t into the conversation. With story telling I think having engaged hands, hips faced towards your audience, and using different vernacular to explain the background of the topic is one of the most important things. So, if you had to present your proposal in the real world it would be useful to know how to stand, what kind of facial features you should use, as well as knowing what to say to engage the audience and persuade them to agree with you.

Danielle Lehman
Guest
Danielle Lehman

Like the post mentioned and the infographic as well, storytelling is known to be persuasive and this can be helpful when writing a proposal. One thing from the infographic that stood out is that 65% of our daily conversations involve stories or gossip. I never realized that when I talk to different people every day, usually we will tell each other about our day or weekend, so that would actually be considered storytelling. Usually when I think of stories I think of them as being more informative, however, I guess they can be persuasive when your friend tells you about something fun that they did, and then you have an interest in doing the same thing. I found the part about the experiment from the infographic interesting because the people who had a hot cup of coffee, when they read about someone, they thought of that person having a warmer personality. Metaphors help when telling stories because they activate a different part of your brain and that is the sensory cortex. The main thing I got out of this infographic is that stories can be persuasive, and depending how they are told they can activate different things in the brain such as sense and movement.

Kristina Super
Guest
Kristina Super

Danielle, I was also astounded by the percentage of our daily conversations that are solely devoted to stories and/or gossip. However, after much reflection, I can see why the percentage is so high. Humans feed off of gossip and any type of information that relates to the social aspects of life. I mean after all that is what makes us human. We love to be persuaded by certain things that peak our interest. I found that the experimental infographic was a way to communicate the effect metaphors have on the compulsion of storytelling and persuasion. In the business world, the work of the trade is mainly based around persuasion, so I can see the use of this information being advantageous for our future careers.

Ashleigh Griffin
Guest
Ashleigh Griffin

I think this infographic is helpful but I personally feel like this is general information that people should already know. It may be because I have a background in writing and I tend to write in my personal time that I already knew about using sensory words as descriptors, or avoiding overly used words and phrases. I’ve been taught since elementary school to avoid cliches and words like “a lot” or “great”, because they were not words that you would want to see in a paper from a professional. The experiment was interesting as it confirmed an observation I had already made. I noticed that my perceptions of people generally correspond to the situation in which I meet them, and how comfortable or uncomfortable I am. Usually the more comfortable or relaxed I feel, the better I feel about that person.

Carolina Martyn
Guest
Carolina Martyn

Hi Ashleigh, I agree that this inforgraphic holds information that should be general knowledge. I do like that it included the active areas of the brain that corresponded with each story telling tip, however. Although most of this is common sense, I thought it was interesting to see why each of the tips invoked the response it does.

Katie
Guest
Katie

While I agree that most of the information in the infographic has been taught to me since a young age, I do think that the addition of the “overused” words category was helpful. Especially with buzzwords such as “proactive”, I find that there are certain words people think are actively enhancing their writing when in reality, it’s just overused. That isn’t something I’d heard of before, though I don’t enjoy reading scripts that contain those buzzwords.

As for the use of sensory words in professional papers, I think it has a time and a place, but technical reports are not it. As much as I’d like to feel more comfortable with an author (and I agree those words do make me feel better about a person), a technical report uses very few descriptors at all save for the very technical ones. But then again, I could be wrong about this. Would you use sensory language in a technical report?

Aaron+Olinger
Guest
Aaron+Olinger

This infographics card was helpful and made me realize why I enjoyed certain presentations over others. The most important part of this reading for me was how different words activate different parts of the brain which influences how a story or presentation is perceived. Personally, the example about the singer and hands was the most intriguing and formed vastly different mental images. Another aspect about storytelling is noticing what kind of audience you are communicating with. If you are an engineer and presenting to business people or a doctor presenting to engineers, chances are if you use the words used for terms in your field of work, no one except those in the same field will understand what you as the speaker are explaining. So, be aware of what, how, and to whom you are speaking.

Zachary Cohen
Guest
Zachary Cohen

I totally agree with your thoughts on this infographic Aaron. I think that the types of language that people use when they speak has a big effect on how I feel about what they’re presenting. Being able to work good imagery and sensory words into a presentation makes it much more interesting and I think leads to more responsive audiences. This is a skill that I personal hope to become much better at.

Rachel Cannon
Guest
Rachel Cannon

I found it very interesting to read through the infographic about storytelling and to see how our brains respond to different words and to think about the history of storytelling. While I think that storytelling is a very effective form of communication and a persuasive tool, it is not appropriate to include storytelling in written proposals for the civil engineering field because proposals include just technical information. However, I think that the use of storytelling in business meetings can be used with a technical proposal to influence future clients for business.

Benjamin A. Beheydt
Guest
Benjamin A. Beheydt

I love this infographic because of its relation to neurology and how it uses specific, scientific sources. I really engage with topics such as this because I thoroughly enjoy learning about how my brain is working. I like being able to identify how my brain is processing moments in my life. With that being said, this infographic really resonates with me. I was an Original Orator in high school (a speech and debate competitor in the Original Orator category) and, as an OO, I got to give many different persuasive speeches fraught with stories intended to capture the audience. But what I loved more than telling stories was listening to them given by other competitors. Their use of the right adjective or verb in the right place sculpted tangible worlds in my head that was able to transcend any fact or figure given about a particular topic. And because of this, I almost never go through a presentation or speech without including a well thought-out story. This infographic just reinforces my already stedfast belief in the power of words; cognitive dissonance maybe?

Yibo Xu
Guest
Yibo Xu

This infographic is very useful for me. I always know that the storytelling style is very helpful to lead the audiences in to your story and bring up your ideas. But what I didn’t know is that the different words can actually effect people in their brains. A strong word could be more effective than a weak adjective word. Although the storytelling style is very useful, still it has a lot of limitations. For example in the resume or in a professional bio that you are writing, the objective thinking and writing is very very important since the readers need to understand who you are in a right way. But the storytelling style is very useful to conviniece the others.

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