Why Global Influencers And Entrepreneurs Use Stories To Start Movements

Why Global Influencers And Entrepreneurs Use Stories To Start Movements

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Elon Musk Using Stories To Start Glboal Movements in Transportation
Image Credit: LA Times

A lot of my time currently has been spent studying successful people and global influencers. The one’s who have started global movements all seem to have one critical skill; they are great communicators who use stories to effectively get their point across.

The idea of stories has been around for thousands of years but more and more it’s becoming the most important way to communicate. I was listening to a podcast interview with a Ted Talk expert the other day who suggested that up to eighty percent of communication is best done through story telling.

He explained that the reason why people in business fail at communicating is that they don’t use real world stories. My recommendation to you is to investigate the art of storytelling as much as you can. It’s a skill that will help you in whatever you are doing, and it’s something that can always be improved upon.

The five reasons stories start global movements are:


1. Stories inspire

Out of all the reasons why stories start global movements, the number one reason is that they inspire people. A movement is a group of people that all believe something similar and form a community around this idea or belief.

Movements are made up of people, and people are moved by other people. In order for people to move people (I hope I’m making sense), there has to be some human element that moves them into action.

Action requires people to feel differently than they did before and the best way to do this is through a story. See if you look at every successful business, brand, location or person (all could be considered movements) they were all started by someone who shared a story.

Through my research, there was not a single example I could find where a story wasn’t responsible for a movement. When someone attempts to influence you with facts, chunks of data, and content that is not story based, you start to feel like you are in some boring corporate presentation.

Stories have the power to inspire people because they are relatable and something that people can grab hold of. The way people latch onto a story is through finding a story in their own life that aligns with the story being told by the person starting the movement.

For example, when Wholefoods says that they stand for more than just healthy, and they are about food that nourishes, win-win supplier relationships, satisfying customers, food education, and advance environment stewardship (I’ll be honest I have no idea what this is), some of what they stand for connects with me.

Now not all the things they stand for align with me personally, but their point about food education aligns with me because I never got food education in school and I wish I did. If I was given food education, then I may have a much better level of health than I do now.

So my point is that I have taken one part of the Wholefoods story, and then applied part of my own story to it, and that’s what inspires me to be part of their global movement. If they tried to get me onboard through something other than the story of their vision and why they began, I wouldn’t have the leverage needed to be inspired by them.

“What a company sells doesn’t inspire me, it’s why they sell it that inspires me and their story is what delivers that message”


2. Stories are personal and require vulnerability

Think about when you buy something. Why do you ask people you know about their experience of the product you want to buy? Simple, because the story of how they use it is personal and free from advertising hype and marketing spin.

The reason you ask your friends about a product is because you are more inclined to listen to a story about it from someone you trust because then it’s a personal shopping experience.

Stories ae powerful because nine times out of ten they are personal. To share personal stories, like the ones I share on Addicted2Success, requires some degree of vulnerability. Not everyone wants to share a personal story because they are worried what others might think about them after reading it.

Well, if you haven’t figured out already, I don’t really care, and you shouldn’t either. For me, I want to be part of a global movement, and I know that the only way to do this from experience is by being real. It requires me to put myself on the line and not to be afraid or blocked by fear.

The more vulnerable you are about sharing your deepest darkest stories, the more likely you are to have people join your movement. One of the best examples I have seen of vulnerable storytelling was from a fellow success junkie Lewis Howes.

Now here’s a guy who some might perceive to be a tall, athletic, footy jock kind of guy that has always been “Mr Popular.” Lewis shared a few years ago his story of how he was raped by another boy when he was a kid.

Sharing this type of story would be considered by most to be career suicide, but Lewis has built a global movement of millions of people by being vulnerable and sharing his story. It’s what the 0.1% of people do like Lewis, such as telling vulnerable stories, that creates success and can lead to global movements.

Stop being afraid and don’t just share stories, make them vulnerable and personal wherever possible.


3. Stories create raw emotion

To get any person to take action towards anything, or to get someone to join a global movement, you must use emotion. Emotion get’s people to take action and it taps into our human potential in every sense of the word.

When you tell a great story, if you’re doing it correctly, there should be raw emotion behind it. If you look at well-known singers that make the big time, the one thing they do is deliver songs (a form of a story) with raw emotion.

The difference between singers who make it and singers who don’t are the one’s that make it link their heart and communicate emotion with every single performance. As thick as your skin can be, it’s hard not to be moved by a story when it makes you feel some type of emotion.

Those of us who have done sales training know that people don’t make buying decisions based on logic; they make buying decisions based on emotion. If you make someone feel really good, even if your product is not the best in the market, there is a high chance that the person will buy from you.

“Stories create emotion and emotion is like a magnet that brings people towards your movement faster than you have ever seen before”

4. Stories are unforgettable

As many of you know, I have been doing Toastmasters to improve my public speaking skills because it’s helping me with my vision to inspire the world. One of the first questions I had when I started was “how the heck do I remember all the words in the speeches I write?”

I reached out to my network, and the response was interesting. Apparently, the reason why I would often forget words in some presentations was that I was supposedly speaking about something I wasn’t passionate about.

See, it turns out that when you tell stories, you are speaking from experience, and often on things that you are passionate about. When you try and communicate without stories, it’s easy to forget things because you are asking your brain to remember something that frankly, you don’t give a damn about!

Global influencers use stories because they don’t have to remember them. They can get up and tell a story for hours without forgetting any part of it because the story is something that is easy to remember.

The same is true for the audience. Stories are unforgettable and can attract people to a movement because they are very hard to forget if told well with the right ingredients. So many times in business I share stories with perspective clients when the product I am offering is by no means the best thing they can get.

To my surprise, these perspective clients usually go with me, not for the product I am offering them, but for the unforgettable stories that I shared with them about why I do what I do. By looking at every article I have posted on Addicted2Success, you will see that almost every single one is made up of powerful stories that have happened to me.

The reason for this is because that’s how I get people to join our movement and for them not to forget what we stand for. Stories are the reason why I get so many people reaching out via social media and why our movement is growing stronger than it ever has before.

People want to be inspired, and the best way to do that is to make them never forget you through the power of stories!

Tim Denning - Story Quote copy

5. Stories demonstrate growth

The key reason why global influencers use stories is because a story does one very powerful thing; a story demonstrates growth. If you analyse what a lot of stories are made up of you pretty quickly realise that they have a starting point and an end point that demonstrates some type of change or growth from where the story initially began.

It’s this growth that people are attracted to because the natural reaction when you hear a story that includes growth is to say to yourself “if they could do that then maybe I could do that, or maybe I could overcome the same thing they did.”

What story do you have that inspires people? Share your answer in the comments section below or on my website timdenning.net and my Facebook.
Tim Denning is a former entrepreneur turned intrapreneur, working daily with fast-moving tech companies. He is passionate about what makes startups successful and is a thought leader/ game changer via the use of social media. Tim uses personal development and success as a platform for greatness. You can connect with Tim through his website www.timdenning.net or through his Facebook and Twitter.


  1. You know Tim, I have been thinking, what separates your articles from any other, and why I was attracted to your work and passion in the first place. For the last few years I have read lots and lots of stuff and sometimes there’s a good title like ‘5 tips to improve your motivation’ or ’10 reasons why you have no success’ and you read it just as your favourite book, from cover to cover and feels like something wrong there. I mean, it’s all good, valuable information, but no personal attachment. The story you can easily remember and then share, is missing, and few hours later you cannot remember the title name, who was the author and what was he actually trying to tell you?

    Your ability and desire to share personal experience keeps me coming here daily (well, not only that really, but your stories helped me find that common ground and sense of friendship, if you like) and check if there’s un update from you. I read almost anything on A2S, and there are many talented people here, and again, once there’s a story involved, a personal experience or perhaps an honest opinion about subject, it easily provides additional thrill to read it.

    Stories have been a huge inspiration for me for a long time and I used lots of them as an example to other people, and for myself of course. I think it is a unique gift or skill to tell a good story, to conquer your fears and be vulnerable.

    You mentioned Lewis Howes here, and I watched one of the series on youtube where he was talking about that. It was powerful. I think being vulnerable gives you more strength and energy, and just unchain your inner self. It will heal you at the end.

    My appreciation and gratitude for that great read, Tim. I enjoyed it very much! Thank you for being authentic and vulnerable, have a wonderful day and stay well and healthy!

    • Toño thank you for helping me to understand more about what I do. I have always believed that if there is no personal attachment and no stories then you are really just sharing facts or somebody else’s information. I really do appreciate the effort you put in to read each of the articles and take the time to share your thoughts. Keep well chief and we’ll speak again soon.

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