Storytelling is as old as time. While it seems like storytelling has recently become a buzzword that has permeated our society and culture, it actually dates back to ancient times before man was able to write. The only way to communicate was by speaking and sharing stories. Audiences were clamoring for information long before there was the internet, the television, the radio, the newspaper or any other form of mass communication. Storytelling was what united people. Storytelling was currency.
Fast forward thousands of years and storytelling is back in vogue. In fact, it is re-emerging and being recognized as one of our most vital forms of messaging. In the last half century, storytelling has been considered more of an underground art, relegated to communities of poets, writer and musicians. Thankfully, despite all of the access we have to information, it has become conventionally accepted that nothing is more powerful than having someone tell you a meaningful story in an engaging way. It has become defined as a critical success factor. In our information age, we recognize that storytelling is what makes us stand out. With social media, we can learn nearly everything about someone - their professional history, their personal lives. We can see their photos of their families and vacations. Yet, only through storytelling can we actually get to know them and understand who they really are. From a business perspective, Seth Godin has been quoted as saying "Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell."
Let's face it, we elect leaders because of their ability to deliver a compelling message. We make purchasing decisions based on how moved we are by the ads we see on television. We support our management in our jobs because of their powerful messages and dynamic storytelling skills. We share TED talks on our social media accounts because we are moved to tears or laughter or simply awestruck at how brilliantly someone managed to shift our minds in 18 minutes. Storytelling is the undercurrent of our society.
In our company, we are trying to help people be more effective in telling their stories. We understand that, regardless of your role in society, you are required to be able to communicate effectively. And, regardless of who you are communicating to or what you are communicating about, being able to articulate your story and have your audience truly hear your message requires that you focus on more than simply the words you may craft to tell your story. In order to speak your story in a way that will allow you to capture your audience and move them, you need to understand the critical components of communication - the science and mechanics of what makes people listen and comprehend what you are saying. It is more than an engaging opener. It is more than charm and charisma. It is more than great visuals. It is those critical soft skills that we all have heard about and hope we are employing effectively.
So, here's our story. At t3 interactive, we believe that learning is an experience. And, experience is the only way to truly learn. When we decided to create a new pathway for learning, we decided to focus on a skill that is paramount for success - public speaking. We knew the data: three quarters of the population suffers from a fear of public speaking. We'd rather be dead than have to get up in front of a group of people and speak. And, ironically, despite the value we place on storytelling, we are not teaching children or adults how to be more effective communicators. In fact, in our modern age, we have more and more opportunities to communicate electronically rather than in person which is falsely suggesting that there is less need to be able to effectively present or speak in public. Our children use text messaging as their primary vehicle, creating shortcuts and depersonalization. Yet, they still need to be engaging storytellers. They still need to be able to look someone in the eye and convey a message. As adults, we choose email and text messaging, Facebook and Twitter rather than a face-to-face conversation because it is easier and more convenient. Yet, we only truly feel connected when we can see another's facial expression, watch their reaction to our words, show them our emotions.
We recognize the power of storytelling and understand how challenging it is for us to find ways to be more effective and hone our skills. We all have amazing stories within us, begging to get out. Some of us write them, some of us speak them, some of us sing them, and, unfortunately, some of us keep them locked up inside in fear that when they try to share them, they will be met with dismal failure. What we know to be true is that there are key elements of successful speaking that can be learned much like you can learn to play golf, to practice yoga, or to dance. There are mechanical skills that are at the foundation that, once learned, can be practiced and refined over and over to allow people to be incredibly dynamic storytellers.
We have set out to build a society of successful communicators. We want to help reduce the fear, debunk the myths, lift the stigma and empower people to confidently deliver their messages. We have created new tools that will change the experience for many. Everyone deserves to feel confident and competent and nothing makes us more proud than to see someone overcome their own challenges and become powerful presenters. We are proud to be launching our new website and will be sharing lots more important information here and on our other social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, and Google+. We'll continue to share our story and want to hear all about your stories. We want to hear about your challenges and successes with speaking and telling your story. We will be offering you opportunities to try out our products and be part of our journey. We are starting a movement and we hope you will join us. Please share your story with us. Post yours on our Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to hear from you and we want to help you. Please join our community.
Thanks for letting us share the beginning of our story with you. Stay tuned for more to come!