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Storytelling, a weapon of mass persuation?



I'm hearing a lot of people talking about storytelling as one of the best - if not the best - means of persuasion.

That it would therefore be more effective than a presentation consisting of, for example, a thesis, an antithesis and a synthesis, than a practical demonstration or than a simple comparison.

But, and this is where things get interesting, those who try to convince me - often another storyteller and often via social media - do so without ever making use of storytelling. In general, they simply choose to list its qualities.


Why ?
Maybe because in reality, storytelling is not the weapon of mass persuasion that people are currently trying to pass it off as.

But let's start from the beginning: what is storytelling?




A songwriter employs the following structure: verse, chorus, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus (pretty much in that order or another), and uses it, for more efficiency, if he or she deems it necessary, when writing a song.

Are you familiar with this? Good.

You just have to tell yourself that, for his part, a storyteller employs the following structure: context, presentation of the characters, problem, first attempt at resolution, twists and turns, new problem, resolution, final situation (more or less, in that order or another) and that he uses it, if he deems it necessary, to write stories.

Storytelling therefore does not constitute the preparation of narratives in the broadest sense, but the use of precise narrative structures, traditionally used in literature or cinema, in the world of communication.



Think about your favourite books or films, and you’ll probably agree that when it comes to highlighting the narrative issues, this structure has certainly proven its worth. It’s what caused you to miss your metro stop, because you were so engrossed in your book. It’s what gets you so totally immersed in a film you’ve already seen.


On a personal level, it’s what explains my love of slasher movies: because this kind of film always uses the same pitch, where variations in their structure can change everything.

It's almost a stylistic exercise: a single good idea can make all the difference between a déjà vu experience and a nice surprise.

Storytelling - WMH Project

Benjamin Peurey, Storyteller WMH Project


Storytelling is a tool that seeks to capture and retain attention.




We have to admit that if the narrative structure, on which storytelling is based, did not exist, many classics from the worlds of the cinema and literature would never have found their audience.  

Anyone who has ever seen a good thriller knows that storytelling, in addition to highlighting the threats and challenges, offers great entertainment. Its mechanics give meaning to the dramatic sequence of
events in the story, while at the same time including plenty of surprises - the twists and turns - which bring chaos without failing to support the story.

This is one of the great strengths of storytelling: even though it creates entertainment, anchoring the key aspects of the story in people’s minds and stoking suspense, storytelling also automatically and simultaneously fights against distraction.



Ultimately, we should see storytelling as a very promising cooking recipe: there’s every reason to drool when reading it, but on the one hand the cook must successfully cook it, and on the other hand, when you yourself are a cook, you don’t always need it, because a simple ham sandwich made with quality products can be excellent and requires no real effort, right?


In any case, although a recipe occasionally gets your mouth watering, it’s not the recipe itself that will generate word of mouth, but the way it’s cooked... the finished dish. However, the recipe will have taken the first step towards creating the desire.

Likewise, storytelling is a tool that seeks to capture and retain attention.


Because it is still underexploited in B2B, its potential is very likely unknown. But we do know several things: firstly, that it probably won't do all the work, especially if the goal is to create engagement.

And also, that despite this, very few methods can prepare the ground the way it can: generating emotions, stimulating and retaining interest, when one has an audience to engage. Isn’t that already a very considerable achievement?

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