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Human Neural Passageways Crave Story

Kendall Haven is a trailblazer.

As the lead researcher and indeed, creator of the field of neural and cognitive science of story, he is on the front wave of discovering the catalytic power of story and how it can be used to influence, persuade, and change.

He’s also the award-winning author of two books, “Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story” and “Story Smart: Using the Science of Story to Persuade, Inspire, Influence, and Teach.”

“Story Smart” features the latest EEG lab research on the power of story and includes tools, structure, and yes, data to highlight the neural processes that occur when we encounter and engage with story.

With over thirty years of stage experience, Kendall is also a master storyteller himself.

This phenomenal story consultant and artist joins the Business of Story Podcast to shed some light on the dark and twisting neural passageways in our brains, and to illuminate why it is that, throughout generations, story holds so much sway there.

In This Episode

  • The scientific proof that story structure is a powerhouse of informational systems
  • The latest cognitive research on story engagement, story power, empathy, and influence
  • How to merge your themes and messages into powerful, effective stories
  • Kendall’s tried and true tools for filtering story through an active subconscious
  • Kendall’s Neural Story Net
  • How to think in story form
  • Audience modeling


Quotes From This Episode

“The story is the servant, the delivery vehicle. Stories engage. (highlight to tweet) The elements of story are what make people sit up and pay attention, but it’s not the story that you want them to pay attention to ultimately. It’s some messaging that you want to deliver through the story.” —Kendall Haven

“There is no such thing as a universally effective story. Every effective story is target audience-specific.” —Kendall Haven (highlight to tweet)

“Our research has shown that you will never fully engage an audience—and you need to fully engage them in order to influence them—unless you involve them at an emotional level. Stories do that.”—Kendall Haven

“Story is more than the physical thing, ‘Once upon a time there was,’ or ‘I want to tell you a story about…’ Forget the physical thing. Think of story as a planning approach to your material.” —Kendall Haven

“Every person who sees your material is going to interpret it—not so much consciously, but at a subconscious level—in story form. And if you don’t anticipate those story elements, you lose control of how each individual interprets and makes sense out of your material. Understanding story structure lets you vastly reduce the number of people who will misinterpret your information.” —Kendall Haven