Stories are vital to communicators because they are viral. They are contagious: they want to be passed on.
That is how we recognize a story. People retell it. Stories get people talking.
Putting our content onto stories codes it and helps people understand and repeat it. For people who communicate about heritage at museums and other sites, stories can give our visitors ways to talk about our places and collections. The benefits of this are three-fold:
1. Visitors want it
Shared memories is one of the key rewards that visitors seek from leisure visits, including to cultural and heritage sites. They share and create memories largely by talking. A story gives them an easily repeated way to talk about their experience that continues after the visit.
2. We, as educators, want it
We know that people remember what they think and talk about.
Professor Sam Ham’s work on what psychologists call elaboration (which is in his words ‘a fancy word for good, old-fashioned thinking’) and meaning-making in heritage interpretation shows how thinking and talking about a new experience helps us to make sense of it and fixes it in memory. Good stories that relate to our core messages mean that people will be thinking and talking about what we want them to remember.
3. We, as businesses, want it
Marketing people absolutely know the value of getting visitors to repeat your stories. They call it Word of Mouth and know it leads to new business.
My title was Bridging experience; story as a vehicle for interpreters’.