Your Brain on Story

Your Brain on Story

Jessie Shipman 3 min

I’ve been podcasting for a while. When I was at Apple we did over 100 episodes of FieldPods to bring new ideas and information to field engineering team, from the field engineering team, and I just finished recording my 9th episode of Selling Together.


One thing I’ve noticed Is that when folks come on to a podcast, they posture as an expert.

Which is great. 


Usually, we want expertise in interview-style podcasting. But the episodes with the most positive feedback and highest download rates, are the episodes that contain stories, not expertise.


What is so impactful about a story?

Stories have been an integral part of human communication for thousands of years. Our preference for stories over rote information is an evolutionary adaptation.


Our brains are wired to respond to stories in a unique way.


Our brains are constantly bombarded with information, and stories help us organize and make sense of that information.


Brains are sense-making machines. They’re designed to take in raw data: sights, sounds, smells, and experiences, and then make meaning from that data. It does this in very specific ways, but its primary mechanism is through narrative.


When we hear a story, we are able to extract meaning more easily because our brains don’t have to fit the information into the framework; the framework is already there. When we hear a story about important information it allows our brain to skip a step and to understand complex ideas and concepts with less effort.


The novelty and relatability of stories activate multiple areas of the brain and facilitate memory storage. We visualize the characters and setting. We emotionally connect with the characters and their experiences. We process the language to help us remember the information more effectively.


Stories help us make sense of the world

Stories provide the ability to connect with one another and to make sense of our world through the experiences of others.

They facilitate empathy.


By incorporating storytelling into our communication and training methods, we can tap into this innate preference and make our messages more memorable and impactful.


Time for a better together story

This is particularly important in partnerships where we are all learning, sharing, and practicing together. Being able to admit that there are areas where we are not experts, but then telling a story about how we landed on particular practices or processes is incredibly impactful for all of the colleagues and practitioners around us.


Tell a story about how you failed.


Tell a story about how you succeeded.


Tell a story about how you’re still learning.


I’m going to do a better job of this in the future.


Jessie Shipman is the CEO and Co-Founder of Fluincy, a Sales Enablement Software for Partnerships.

She has a background in education and learning theory and spent 4 years building and delivering partner enablement strategy for Apple’s top partnerships before building Fluincy.


Prefer to listen? Subscribe to our PartnerHacker Audio Articles Podcast. Text-to-speech provided by our partner Voicemaker.in.

Jessie Shipman 3 min

Your Brain on Story


By incorporating storytelling into our communication and training methods, we can tap into this innate preference and make our messages more memorable and impactful.


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