As we head to the polls, I’m reminded of the Huffington Post article in July 2012 written by Arianna Huffington where she mentions President Obama’s interview with Charlie Rose. According to Huffington, the interview got really interesting when the conversation turned to what the president considered the biggest mistake of his first term. He said, “…it was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. The nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”
Without labeling all the rhetoric we’ve heard during this presidential campaign, storytelling is essential in communicating ideas and values, and in leading a country.
“Stories are the creative conversion of life itself to a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience,” says screenwriting guru Robert McKee. They are “the currency of human contact.” Or, as film producer Peter Guber, says in his book Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story, “Telling purposeful stories is certainly the most efficient means of persuasion in everyday life, the most effective way of translating ideas into action. The stories our leaders tell us matter probably almost as much as the stories our parents tell us as children, because they orient us to what is, what could be, and what should be. Their stories help us to understand how they view the world and the values they hold sacred.”
Scientific research has shown that humans are naturally wired for stories. We can best understand and remember information if it is wrapped in a story. Story gives it human context, meaning and purpose. Only then can we translate this into action. And competent leadership is about ultimately mobilizing people into action.
As you cast your ballot, ask yourself: Which candidate placed the issues in a narrative that helped me to better understand how they can be resolved? Which candidate told a compelling story about their vision for the future and made me feel optimistic about being a part of it?
The choices are overwhelming but if you were to see it only one way, I hope you will vote for the story that will provide the best opportunity for our children to realize their dreams so that down the road, they can tell their own stories of trust, hope, unity and peace.
Coming up next week:
November 13: Write Your Story for Video
5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Fine Arts Building
410 S. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
November 16: Create Your Compelling & Memorable Elevator Pitch
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Letizia’s Fiore Ristorante
2456 N. California Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647