How do I create an interesting story?
Question: How do I create an interesting story?
I am sure there many ways out there. For me, I use a technique called NIS. It is selection technique steeped in neuroscience and how our brain works, what gets it excited, bored or inspired. NIS stands for: N = Novelty, I = Intrigue and S = Specifics
You must be wondering, what does novelty stand for? When I am selecting stories for a presentation, I tend to lean towards stories that have an element of “Novelty.” That means stories that have a fresh perspective, a uniqueness or something new and uncommon about them.
It turns out, the amydala in our emotional brain is very fickle minded. It has a very short attention span. The amydala determines whether something is important or not important, whether is worth paying attention to, or not. It acts like a gate-keeper to the brain, especially because its primary function is safety (it initiates fight or flight mechanism) ; so it does not have a lot of time to kill.
Thus, when you select a story that has an element of novelty, the amydala “informs” the rest of the brain that this is “kinda cool,” and “its worth checking out.” There you go. If your story is so interesting and the amydala is capable of even hijacking the entire system during a moment of joy, like when you LOL!
On the other hand if the story is about a boring topic, the amydala switches off, avoiding the boredom. I believe novelty is a short cut to the mind.
The second element of an interesting story is “Intrigue.” This has to do with creating a little mystery. Have you ever been intrigued by a puzzle or a bit of suspense?
Some storytellers begin with a question or a hook that gets your attention. If you have a story that start with a hook, even a boring story becomes interesting because the listener can’t wait to find out the answer to the mystery.
The next time you have a story about a two college sweet hearts, begin it with a bit of intrigue such as: “On the first day of college, she told her Mom, if John does not take me to the altar by the time we graduate, I will become prostitute for life.” Shocking right? Now, that is an effective use of intrigue. It ties you in. You feel a need to find out if this really happened or not.
Last but not least, “Specifics” in your stories. They add color and punch. Specifics make your story more interesting. Instead of saying the weather was bad, say that it was misty and foggy. Instead of saying I stayed at a hotel, say it was a cottage hotel called Riverine on the River Rhine. Can you picture that?
To make the story interesting, you need to paint pictures in the mind of the lister. Yup!
I ‘ve used the “NIS” technique to earn some standing ovations. Every time I present, I try to improve it. Tell me what you think of this formula and how you can apply it to your business stories.