A great story today from David Wolff on the power of story.
Last week I wrote a post about our built-in hype detector. It’s called Broca’s area and it’s the gateway to the prefrontal cortex by way of the dorsolateral prefrontal association area. If your message is going to get to the decision-making prefrontal cortex, you’ve got to get it past Broca’s area and it must be hype-free or Broca kicks it to the curb.
What David Wolff is describing is the secret entrance. Put your message in the form of story, with symbolic language and hype becomes irrelevant. Broca lives in the left hemisphere. The right hemisphere will believe just about anything and will draw the story out on the visuospatial sketchpad in the dorsolateral prefrontal association area…which, conveniently enough, lands you right next to the prefrontal cortex where decisions are processed.
So how do I know all this stuff? A wizard taught me.
In its early years FedEx’s advertising stressed the value of saving time, a left brain pitch. Then it tried stories showing anxious workers who screwed up getting their bosses’ packages delivered on time in comparison with happy office warriors who did. Shifting to emotionally evocative right brain storytelling helped put FedEx’s growth into overdrive.