Into the woods: how stories work and why we tell them by John Yorke #MRSlive @TweetMRS #MRX 


Live blogged at MRS in London. Any errors or bad jokes are my own.

  • Why do stories work? Lets us understand what it is like to be someone else. 
  • Stories are what make us human
  • Why do people tell stories? We want to communicate with other people. We don’t want to live in perfect isolation.
  • Poweropints and numbers are fine but we don’t get an emotional response from that 
  • Stories reduce chaos to order, seek order shape and balance, sense of ending and world is okay
  • Stories don’t have to be nice but you form an emotional bond and you have to care
  • Jaws – sharks goes into public beach an eats person. Now that’s boring but a story turns it into a problem to be solved. 
  • Every story is fundamentally the same – go on quest, overcome problem, meet romantic partner, all is well.
  • Why do we want to see more stories if they are basically all the same? Well, we don’t know that, plus it’s the power of curiousity of what happens next
  • It’s all driven by curiousity, also happens in advertising, in politics.
  • We cannot cope with chaos and randomness, we have to wrap it in a narrative
  • Stories are how we learn
  • Tragedy – I expected good but got bad
  • Heroic story – I expected bad but got good
  • First half of story is you get the information, second half is you respond to the information, halfway through is when everything changes
  • Best writers didn’t study structure and yet they all use perfect structure
  • Ronald Reagan was good at making a large group of people empathize with him and delineating an enemy
  • Politics is the power of story, people get elected based on their story, it can be a very simple story
  • People don’t respond to logic, they respond to story
  • AirBNB, two guys with nothing and nobody believed in them but they went after their dream – it’s the Cinderella story
  • Narrative advertising is amazing when you don’t even have to name the brand
  • Google commercial of man missing an old friend who is then found by daughter who searches Google, implication is they have reunited a continent🙂
  • Most powerful stories are when the audience infers the story, more emotional involvement, show not tell
  • Never give the answer until you obsolutely have to
  • Politicians need a goal and lots of people who will sympathize with the goal. Bernie has a great story, Hillary doesn’t seem to have a story
  • [John is a fun speaker! Lots of good tweets, head over to the #MRSlive twitter stream]
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