You can think of a “story” as a unit of entertainment, which would not be wrong. But a story is a lot more than that. If you ask me, it’s what’s holding together our fragile sense of identity and our definition of what the world is all about.
“Then why do we live in such a fragmented world?” you may ask. My short answer would be: “Because we are living in a world where numerous stories compete for dominance.”
I recently watched the video of an ex-jihadist Pakistani intellectual who has devoted his life to debunk the “narrative” that is responsible for transforming Muslim youngsters into suicide bombers. “There’s a story circulating out there which tells these youngsters that the United States is waging a war to kill Muslims and erase Islam from the face of the earth, and unless you challenge and change that story the conflict will never end,” is the summary of his argument. Correct. That’s when you realize the kind of “material force” story is and has become, more than ever. It’s the relentless firmware that runs the hardware of the world 24-7.
McKee needs no introduction to those who have any involvement with screenwriting of course. But what’s special about this video is the way he explains how story can be (and is) used in the business world.
PERSUASION is the first order of business in the world of commerce and trade, McKee asserts. And there are 3 ways to persuade others: 1) Through RHETORIC (the PowerPoint presentation approach), 2) COERCION (my-way-or-highway approach), and 3) STORY TELLING – by far the most effective of the three. All great leaders in business and politics are at the same great story tellers. Lee Iaccoca, Winston Churchill, LBJ immediately comes to mind, for all the right seasons. But all story tellers in history were not good guys. Hitler was also a superb story teller if you ask me. The story he told over and over led tens of millions of people to their horrible deaths of course but that does not diminish the fact that he was a very effective story teller indeed.
Despite its power, story telling has a big handicap too – it needs talent (duh!) and that’s why most business types prefer a PowerPoint approach. BONUS: Watch the video (54 min. till the end) to understand why people fall asleep in the middle of 9 out of every 10 PP presentations made.
© 2010 Gary Karbon
- None Found
© 2010, Gary Karbon. All rights reserved.