Why is storytelling essential to to effective communication?

One of the most troublesome assumptions when communicating is that one’s  intended meaning is understood by the recipient.

For example, the introduction to a news article is called the “lede” and is usually in the first paragraph as in an essay. The word “lede” is a deliberate misspelling of “lead” to prevent confusion in the days when printing was done with lead type.

The lede not only tells what the story is about by creating a context, it also invites the reader to read further. Ledes answer the classic 5 W’s and an H questions of journalism:

WHAT happened? As a result, What could happen?

WHO did it? Who did it happen to? Who else was involved?

WHERE did it happen? Where else will be impacted?

WHEN did it happen? When is it going to happen?

WHY did it happen? Why should your reader care? (“So what?”)

HOW did it happen? How does it work?

Often in the business world, using a narrative format is the best way to share especially important information by making it more interesting: Anchor it in a human context. Address key elements such as setting (and perhaps background), characters, conflicts, issues, plot development, climax, and perhaps falling action or wrap-up.

Attracting and capturing attention is absolutely essential.

Here is the lede in the first paragraph of an article that appeared in the Baton Rouge Advocate on September 23, 2019:

“A veterinarian prescribed antibiotics Monday for a camel that lives behind an Iberville Parish truck stop after a Florida woman told law officers she bit the 600 pound animal’s genitalia after it sat on her when she and her husband entered its enclosure to retrieve their deaf dog.”

That is what the lede accomplishes: it immediately engages the attention of the given audience

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