Why Stories Matter

“All we got to do is tell the story right.” -Pike (Taye Diggs in Basic)

Are You Sitting Comfortably?

The movie Basic is about a group of Army Rangers on a clandestine mission. The plot centers around an investigator attempting to uncover the story behind the disappearance of a few members, as well as questions about what really happened in a cabin in the jungle.

What does this have to do with events? Plenty.

The oft-repeated quote “all we got to do is tell the story right” could be ripped from the film and used on any number of marketing events, but there’s a slight difference: event planners can construct the story from scratch, they don’t need to worry about ‘telling’ it right, more ‘creating’ it right.

All great events tell stories. From helping attendees garner knowledge they could not find on their own to providing networking opportunities for people from around the world and private demonstrations to public launches, each event travels along a hero’s arc (of sorts) in an attempt to solve a problem that attendees may or may not know exists.

Dan Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, recently interviewed fellow author Jonathan Gottschall. The topic of their discussion? Gottschall’s latest book The Storytelling Animal, which talks about how stories make us human, and how conditioned we are to share them.

Sales pitch? Story. Marketing campaign? Story. Asking someone for a favor? Usually a story involved there, too.

Smart event planners will take note of this and craft event elements to support a simple plot line. Perhaps it’s ‘attendee identifies resources, meets other interested parties, hears experts tell him how to solve problems and then makes that happen’ or something like that. Aligning you agenda so it looks like a plot will help, too.

But the most important part? The stories attendees share after they leave. What are you doing to give them something to talk about?