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Storytelling tips from the Nielsen Norman Group

As an analytical thinker, storytelling has always been a struggle for me. I tend to organize information differently than storytellers. But throughout my career it has become increasingly important. Anytime I find a good teaching tool for storytelling, I try to work with it and incorporate its lessons. 

I especially value the reminder here to pair our stories with artifacts. If we handle it correctly, a very complex story can be embedded in a single image or token. 

Nielsen Norman Group: 6 Rules for Persuasive Storytelling, 2019-Apr-28 by Rachel Krause

Stories help us explain difficult concepts.

Giving additional context helps our audience connect with a concept. This additional context can be in the form of behaviors, emotions, reactions, motivations, or goals. Unlike a flow chart or artifact, a narrative allows the audience to understand the reasons behind users’ actions; they remind our audience members that they are not the user.... 

Stories allow us to form a shared understanding.

Thinking about how to build a product usually involves feature lists and backlogs. Stories bring user pain points and goals to the forefront of the conversation and help teams create a shared language of why they’re building a product or feature and whom it benefits. These stories can also be used to rally around a product vision, painting an image of how life could be better with that product.

6 Rules for Persuasive Storytelling

    1. Adapt your vocabulary to match your audience.
    2. Appeal to the needs of your audience.
    3. Back up your points with real data. 
    4. Focus on the entire omnichannel experience, inside and outside the interface. 
    5. Pair your story with an artifact for memorability and alignment.
    6. Follow up with a summary. 

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