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An energy drink for Charles Lindbergh

Natalie Ediger, October 15, 2015· Digital Learning

“An energy drink for Charles Lindbergh is the fifth and final part of our storytelling series. You can read the first part here: Of children’s cassettes and cave paintings, the second part here: Stories are not children’s stuff, the third part here: No Pain, No Gain and the fourth part here: How to generate attention

Everyone is a fairy tale uncle

Nothing is more exciting and attracts more attention than a gripping story – even if we know it: Isn’t it difficult and time-consuming to invent a story? Can everyone really become a “fairytale uncle”? The simple answer: Yes.

It is not important to be an eloquent speaker or a talented writer. Fantastic narrative ideas fly to very few people just like that…

Fortunately, it’s much easier: A newcomer to storytelling can fall back on two types of stories in particular, with which you’re (almost) guaranteed to succeed. The personal or the historical story.

The personal story – student life

The simplest form of the story is the personal. It is simply a matter of packaging your own experience in such a way that your product stands out as well as possible.

Let’s take an energy drink as an illustrative example. This is your product. It is an excellent way to draw on your personal experience and tell something about it.

You were a young student. There were times when you had to write several seminar papers at the same time. That was a nerve-wracking situation for you – hardly any sleep, no time to cook something right, your social life suffered… Shortly before the task, you discovered the miracle cure for yourself: energy drinks. You have held out with it! You were able to finish all your work and get good grades. And you have now invented a completely new, innovative drink that is better (or healthier) than all the others.

With a personal story, you’re consciously putting yourself on the same level as your customers. In this way you turn them into compassionate sufferers. Your pain is understood and felt. You can put yourself in an excellent position. And the solution to the conflict is then all the more comprehensible…

The historical story – Lindbergh’s flight

In contrast to personal history, historical history – as the name implies – refers to generally known events of the near or distant past.

We stick to the example of the energy drink. Imagine the following scenario:

It is the year 1927. Charles Lindbergh took off from New York many hours ago and is now flying east in his “Spirit of St. Louis” plane. He wants to be the first person to cross the Atlantic in solo flight. But a huge problem could bring him to failure: the leaden tiredness in his bones! As he flies along the coast of Ireland, his eyes already close. If he falls asleep now, his plane will smash on the meadows of the green island. Only because of inhuman willpower will Lindbergh be able to stay awake. How much easier would it be if he had a stimulating energy drink at hand? A small can and the tiredness would be blown away!

A story that refers to actual historical events hardly leaves anyone cold. If they succeed in cleverly linking such an event to your product, then you have developed a simple but convincing story – without too much effort!

Bottom line

This concludes our series about storytelling for the time being. Stories are something wonderful, without which we humans don’t want to exist. Why else would we dream? And that’s why we conclude with a quote from “The Storytelling Animal” by Jonathan Gottschall: “We as a species are downright addicted to stories. Even when the body sleeps, the mind stays awake and tells stories to itself.”