Scientific Storytelling

This is one segment of a series of posts on storytelling. These posts will focus on the use of storytelling as an effective means of communication, education, and marketing. Storytelling is a wonderful way to share complex ideas in a memorable manner, which is vital for effective communication and marketing.

Storytelling is using words or images to describe a series of events. More than entertainment, storytelling is a highly effective means of engaging and teaching others. Creating narratives through storytelling is an ancient art used before the written word, so it is unsurprising that humans remember stories better than facts alone. When you walk out of a scientific meeting, do you recall all the bullet points on a slide? Or do you remember the story detailing the woes that plagued the research team before they achieved their discovery? Research has shown that when we look at data we use only the portion of the brain needed to understand the words we see. In contrast, when we read a story, we engage parts of the brain used for language and those needed to actually experience the described events. We want to be part of the story! This suggest that storytelling is more than a tool to entertain children and could be used to share knowledge with adults in a memorable manner.

For generations, different cultures have used storytelling as a teaching method to convey complex information to youths and adult novices. Today, most of us do not consider using storytelling when communicating with others; however, this idea should be reconsidered, particularly for marketing scientific discoveries. Marketing communicates the value of an idea or a service. All scientists market their ideas, whether the audience is governmental grant reviewers or potential business investors differs for each researcher. Successful marketing, just like storytelling, needs to be riveting and unforgettable. Great marketing and storytelling stir the imagination and let the message linger in your mind. Consider storytelling as a marketing technique to engage and enlighten their colleagues, investors, and consumers.

Many highly skilled people struggle to explain their brilliant ideas and modern storytelling offers a remedy to this problem. Traditional storytelling is limited to oral narratives and simple visuals, such as rock art. Modern storytelling uses a variety of media, including videos. Videos engage people by stimulating multiple senses; dynamic images and sounds are capable of conveying complicated information in a memorable fashion. The saying a picture is worth a thousand word is so true. Learn how to make a story from your data and how to share this story so that everyone understands and remembers.

Through this series of posts on storytelling, we discuss different types of storytelling and the value of each for marketing your research. The goal is to teach you the essentials of scientific storytelling and show you how to easily intrigue and enlighten your audience using a variety of media. Share your discoveries with the world!

2017-07-20T23:59:14+00:00 March 1st, 2015|Scientific Storytelling|
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