Storytelling vs. Storylining - what's the difference?

We hear STORYTELLING and STORYLINING interchangeably, yet the two are not synonymous.


Storytelling skill is as old as mankind, and our ancestors were superb at it as it was the only way to make the history last longer than one generation. World renounced movie director knows superbly the power of storytelling, as he once said:


“The most amazing thing for me is that every single person who sees a movie, not necessarily one of my movies, brings a whole set of unique experiences. Now, through careful manipulation and good storytelling, you can get everybody to clap at the same time, to hopefully laugh at the same time, and to be afraid at the same time."


Steven Spielberg knows that good storytelling will enchant the audience so that everyone claps at the same time, laughs at the same time, weeps at the same time and screams at the same time.


What if we could get our business audience and customers to do the same when communicating our decisions and proposals? That's where the difference between storytelling and storylining kicks-in. Storytelling, is passing your message through a story, which people will vividly remember. It’s an effective tool, yet as you have most likely experienced, not every business message can be delivered through storytelling. Trying to communicate the decision of cutting your department from 10 to 5 FTEs through storytelling may easily win you a spot on the company's wall of shame. On the other hand, every message and decision can be delivered through building the strongest fitting storyline(s) and landing yourself on the hall of fame. 


Storylining is essential part of a storytellingIt is lining of messages in logical order to make the entire story easy to grasp and understand while using only the relevant messages avoiding unnecessary noise. Every storytelling starts with storylining and one can embed multiple storylines into a single storytelling. 

The power of good storyline is equal to that of a storytelling. It will assure that your audience claps at the same time, laughs at the same time and draws the same conclusions all at the same time. The biggest difference is, that storylining can be used irrespective of the context. Be it business world or private life, you can grasp your audiences with the right storylining assuring that you receive their full buy-in to your decision or proposal. 


To sharpen your storylining skills join one of Mae's next workshops here Nov 7-9th in Helsinki or here Nov 13th in Tallinn.


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