Why people feel engaged in stories

In a power of story workshop I did this morning the group was fascinated with the question of what causes people to feel engaged in stories they listen to.

One conclusion I offered based on my decades of studying narrative patterns is that people feel connected to our stories when they feel connected with us.  

We make it easier for people to connect with us when we weave into stories the kinds of characters, dynamics, experiences, insights and emotions they can personally relate to and resonate with. 

Whether we know our story listeners, there is an incredible array of things billions of people on the planet can relate to, especially the full range of common human emotions. View a hundred or so films from a hundred or so countries and cultures and you will easily experience an accompaniment of common, relatable emotions that make us feel connected to the story and storyteller. 

When you craft and tell stories, give listeners as many things as they can imagine, recognize and feel so they can connect with you and your stories. To the extent that people feel these connections, our stories have power.