Stories are such powerful communication tools that they should be treated as a double edge sword. In the same way you don’t swing a sharp blade casually, you shouldn’t dabble with stories if you don’t intend in putting in some effort and time into it.
Stories will highlight and make your message clear but if done incorrectly they can backfire terribly. I’ve seen this happen several times. Nearly every single time you could zero in the issue to a badly constructed messages. As I’ve said time and before, a story isn’t just a recollection of words, but a set of causal events that will bring an understanding from point A to point B. You can get every single element of a story right, from the protagonist to the conflict level, but if your end message, your climax, revolves into something unconnected, the audience will through the story at your face.
Storytelling is so powerful that the failure to delivery generates a larger backslash from the audience than if you hadn’t used a story. It’s not uncommon to watch a presentation that’s badly done getting more praise that a good presentation with an unconnected story. Make sure the goal, the final message of your story is truly aligned with that of your audience, if not, bad things will surely happen.
Only use stories if you’re willing to put some hard work on your story and are willing to test it and refine it. If you’re just going to throw an untested story on the fly without any validation 24 hours before presenting it, my advice is to stick to your own presentation or the fall will be worse.
Image credits: Tim O’Brien / 500px