Marco Iacoboni, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA, is a pioneer in the field of mirror neuron research. He described to Peter Guber’s UCLA graduate students how these brain cells make it possible for us to imitate, learn, and intuit each other’s goals through feelings of empathy and connection. “Without them,” Iacoboni explained, “we would likely be blind to the actions, intentions and emotions of other people.” We also would be blind to the meaning of stories, since stories work by turning on and tuning in both the teller’s and the listener’s mirror neurons. “Evolution shaped our brains to learn through narrative,” Iacoboni said.
“Our gestures, facial expressions, and body postures are social signals,” Iacoboni said. “When I see you smiling, my mirror neurons for smiling fire up, too, initiating a cascade of neural activity. I experience immediately and effortlessly what you are experiencing.”
This two-way attunement of mirror neurons creates the optimal state for telling a story. If a story is well told, both teller and audience will remain in this state right through to their shared “ah-ha!” when the teller’s original epiphany is experienced by the listener as his own eureka. The value added by attunement suggests a major advantage that business people lose when they communicate through documents and media presentations instead of oral narrative.
MORE ABOUT TELL TO WIN
To validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.