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How to Use Somatic Markers in Telling Captivating Stories

Posted in: Brand Storytelling, Business Owners, Communication, Employee Engagement, Oral Communication Started by

How to Use Somatic Markers in Telling Captivating Stories

vmpfcHave you ever had a very pleasant dance with someone you love? Have you ever made a costly financial decision? Have you ever eaten a very hot and spicy meal that you ‘d never forget? I believe you must have had one of such experiences. Each one of them is a physiological experience that carries with it an emotional baggage or tag. It is unforgettable.

Based on Antonio Damasio ’s Somatic Marker hypothesis, the brain holds a stronger memory of distinct emotional events and experiences. The region of the brain that tends to handle such events is known as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC).

For you as a leader, teacher or business owner, the region of the brain is not as important  as what it does. Somatic markers tend to influence ie guide or bias behavior, particularly decision-making. In other words, if you can harness their latent power in your storytelling, you can influence the behaviour of your tribe in a very subtle and non-invasive way.

Call it leadership, call it marketing, call it any name. It works. Neuroscience research is demonstrating to us how that works. I am fascinated by how this works and I hope you are as well. It is critical today because people are overloaded with information, hence to have an impact, you need to be captivating. Even Hollywood producers are spending money in this area!

Here is my own hypothesis. Based on my curiosity, and all that I have learned about the science of story telling, professionals who can embed somatic markers into their stories are in a much better position to influence their followers, fans, and prospects.

My sacred mission as a story warrior is to urge you to fight and win battles without firing a shot. Instead of using arms, I urge you to use your stories to captivate, connect and uplift your tribe. When you do that right, the profits will come. 

Here is what I want you to remember about unleashing the power of somatic markers in your stories to inform, inspire and influence:

  1. Stories steeped in somatic markers connect deeper with your tribe. That means your prospects, fans, or followers can relate to you. When this happens as they recall their own experiences, they feel like you understand them better. That is connection!
  2. Stories wrapped in somatic markers trigger a sense of nostalgia. They take them back in time to a place and time when they had a similar experience. This triggers the the brain ’s pleasure and reward system; which releases dopamine ie the feel-good chemical of the brain. When they associate you with feeling good, your likability increases!
  3. Stories shrouded in somatic markers have a stronger resonance factor. This means they have a deeper impact on their brain chemistry. It also increases the chances of being remembered longer. Think of how you can use this in pitching ideas, in doing job interviews, and grant writing.  If you are looking at strengthening your credibility, earning favourable ratings, and generating positive buzz, you need to use somatic markers to supercharge your stories.

In summary, I strongly suggest that you start sharing stories embedded in somatic markers with your prospects, friends, fans and customers. This will earn you short-term likability and credibility and long term memorability. In consulting with one of my recent clients, we agreed on him starting a key presentation with one unforgettable somatic marker. He rocked the presentation and earned a standing ovation.

Are you working on a talk, speech, pitch or a proposal? Let’s talk