5 ways Microsoft’s chief storyteller makes content more human

Storytelling has become a crucial strategy for communicators looking to attract attention from both employees and consumers. Consider this advice to improve your tales.

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It’s never been harder to stand out from the crowd.

“Our attention is under attack,” says Steve Clayton, Microsoft’s chief storyteller and general manager of the company’s Innovation, Culture and Stories team. “By the time we start our workday, we’ve been bombarded with around 20 gigabytes of data.”

For Clayton—whose work includes everything from communicating benefits to 130,000 employees, to shooting a video, to create a holographic version of himself that speaks Chinese—the way to capture and keep attention is through storytelling.

However, not any story will do.

Clayton says:

As humans, we’re not predisposed to remember data. And data doesn’t often make for a great story. Thus, the answer is stories – we’re predisposed to consume, tell, embellish and retell stories and the more human interest those stories have, the more likely they are to break through the clutter trying to grab our attention every day.

Here five ways you can breathe life into your storytelling efforts:

1. Highlight the people driving your narratives.

To excel at human storytelling, you must focus on the people at the heart of your content.

“Without people, there really is no story,” Clayton says.

He continues:

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