Stories

Those who enjoy thinking are mentioned at the end of this quote from Why Stories Sell: Transportation Leads to Persuasion as most vulnerable to being persuaded by a story. Reading Oscar Wilde is fun if only because he puts in so many entertaining quips from his characters to comment and persuade the reader. I feel transported back to college where my friends were challenging my ability to keep up with the craziness of who did what, when, how to who.

Stories work so well to persuade us because, if they’re well told, we get swept up in them, we are transported inside them.

Transportation is key to why they work. Once inside the story we are less likely to notice things which don’t match up with our everyday experience.

For example an aspirational Hollywood movie with a can-do spirit might convince us that we can tackle any problem, despite what we know about how the real world works.

Also, when concentrating on a story people are less aware that they are subject to a persuasion attempt: the message get in under the radar.

Two sorts of people who may be particularly susceptible to being persuaded by stories are those who seek out emotional situations and those who enjoy thinking (Thompson & Haddock, 2011).

Drew Westen at Emory University has a good New York Times piece on how President Obama failed to keep up the grand story he built transporting people into building a better America during the campaign. He needs to resume telling it or start a new one to convince the American public he should be elected for a second term.

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