Why stories are memorable


Stories are memorable. It is proven that we are 20 times more likely to remember a fact if it is wrapped around a story.

Storytelling drives retention rate

A recent study at London business school demonstrated that information retention levels differ depending on how you deliver your facts: with a bit of a storytelling, you can increase the retention rate to around 25-30 percent. The biggest impact comes from storytelling as a standalone communication medium though. According to this study, storytelling can drive the retention rate of your audience up to as much as 65-70 percent.

At Stanford they made a similar experiment: A group of students gave presentations and afterwards had to vote about the quality of the presentations. After some time passed students were asked what presentations they remembered. Interestingly the speeches that got most remembered were not the highest voted ones but those ones that used storytelling elements.

Another example: Since they introduced history books in  storytelling form in the US it has been proven that students can contain more historical facts than before.

We remember what we feel

So there is a lot of evidence that stories are more memorable than facts alone. Why is that? Because we remember what we feel.

Studies of neuroscientists show that different parts of the brain are activated when strong emotions are associated with a memory. This again causes both the memory itself and the related emotions to be retained longer and in greater detail than other memories.

Think about. Looking back at your child hood or teenage years, you are more likely to remember events where emotions were high (for the better or worse).

Stories convey those emotions effectively and bring energy to our communication. Scientists found out that our brain is more activated when listening to stories than rational presentations… why? … because stories evoke images and emotions in our heads.

Deliver facts in story form

Next time you want to deliver facts consider doing it in story form. People will be more likely to remember.



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