Why is storytelling so powerful?

29th September 2022 |   Nick de Cent

Stories are not only enduring; they help drive business.

Telling stories is what humans do; it is fundamental to the human experience. We’ve been telling stories for tens of millennia: 30,000 years at least. Cave paintings in the Grotte Chauvet-Pont d’Arc, located in the Auvergne district of France, date back 30,000 years and represent the oldest known storyboard to be discovered so far. The scenes depict animals interacting, as well as ritual figures, and potentially tell the story of a volcanic eruption, an event known to have been happening in the region at the time.

Today, stories are universal; they are ancient and modern: literary best sellers, movie blockbusters and binge-fest TV dramas, the old masters on the walls of our art galleries, songs, theatre, documentaries and newspapers, poems, even company accounts – they all tell a story. Virtual reality is just one big story.

So, why is storytelling so universal? It seems that skilfully done, telling a good yarn is the best way to engage people, to establish a connection, to help us learn and convince us to take action, to inspire change, to help people retain facts, to influence, motivate and rally converts to a cause. It’s no surprise then that the art of storytelling is an essential skill in business, and especially important in sales, leadership, and learning and development.

Founder of the International Journal of Sales Transformation | + posts

Nick de Cent is the founder and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Sales Transformation. A business journalist for over 35 years, he has been covering sales since the mid-1980s and has been a strong advocate of enhancing its professional status. He has freelanced for the Financial Times and edited the Sales Performance supplement in The Times. He also writes and edits extensively on behalf of corporate clients, including a Big 3 management consultancy and a top four global executive search firm.
Contact: editor@journalofsalestransformation.com.