I can’t cry

A slightly weird confession.

I never cry.

Not when a lover leaves me. Not when someone dies. Not when I’m chopping an onion.

I can’t.

What does that have to do with storytelling?

In these e-mails, I haven’t discussed emotions very often. But emotion plays a key role in storytelling.

Emotions get us involved, make us pay attention to and remember information. And emotions steer our decisions. Ask any salesperson, politician or psychologist.

But emotion almost never plays a role in communication by knowledge workers.

Reports, scientific papers, organizational strategies…

There is so little emotion there, it makes you want to cry.  

Can’t we do this differently?

In written text, conventions sometimes leave us very little space for emotions. In presentations, much more is possible.

It often helps to locate the emotions in the story, and to explicitly mention them.

In the problem, for example.

It’s frustrating that children with delayed language development have so few opportunities. It can make them feel like they lack any perspective.

Or in the solution.

It is moving to watch the volunteers teach private lessons. It gives them satisfaction, and the children get joy and inspiration out of it.

Try it – make your audience happy.