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Tell Better Stories

A study on using storytelling in global health communications

Video continues to be a popular format for information sharing, including sharing data and information, from animated charts and videographics to embedding data in a story format.

The Narrative Project led a large study (3,410 respondents) on how video impacted intended behaviors (three groups: watch lecture-based video, watch story-based video, no video). They assessed everything from likelihood to share the video to making a financial contribution to the cause to calling Congress.

I haven't entirely digested all of their findings (it's a lot of charts to sift through) but there are nuggets throughout on the detailed findings on a wide variety of video "impacts" that you may enjoy flipping through. I think it's particularly interesting to see where "lecture" came out ahead of "story".

The final punchline is what you likely expect from a report titled "Tell Better Stories": Stories generally outperformed other groups in conveying The Narrative Project themes and motivating actions. They also validated the value add of using video (either story or lecture based) over not-video. 

It's really interesting to see a whole study dedicated to this question specific to global health issues. To see more research on the broader question of how stories impact behavior, check out Paul Zak's neuroscience research, summarized beautifully in this short video.

Would love to hear your thoughts and takeaways on how these findings may influence how you bring storytelling into your work!

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