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What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

Podcast Episodes

What is behavioral economics? Why does it matter to you?

145. The Power of Story, an Interview with Dr. Michelle Auerbach

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Today I am very excited to introduce you to Dr. Michelle Auerbach. She and I met a few weeks back by an introduction from another podcast where we had both recently been guests, and it was clear we had a lot in common. When we had our “getting to know you” conversation I learned that Michelle’s work was all about the power of story (while I happened to be working on the curriculum for my upcoming class on Creating BEtter Presentations using behavioral economics and story for Texas A&M University. (Register here)
During the conversation, we touch on several concepts that have their own past episodes, including those on the novelty and stories, nudges, framing, status quo bias, DOSE brain chemicals, and many more.

Show Notes:

  • [00:06] In today’s episode I’m excited to introduce you to Dr. Michelle Auerbach, author of Resilience: The Life-Saving Skill of Story.
  • [01:59] Emotion is needed to make decisions, and stories evoke emotions.
  • [03:48] Two days ago Dr. Auerbach defended her dissertation. (Congratulations!)
  • [05:08] Story has always been an enormous part of Michelle’s life.   
  • [07:14] She wanted to do change management in an organization because it is a place where all of the wisdom we’ve handed down shows up and helps people in their real everyday lives.  

“Emotion is needed to make decisions, and stories evoke emotions.” – @mcauerbach Does your messaging make people FEEL enough? #behavioraleconomics #story #business” Click To Tweet

  • [09:09] Story does four really important change tasks. 
  • [10:07] Story moves stuff from your short-term memory across to your long-term memory and allows you to hold on to information. It also allows you to see possibilities that you wouldn’t see otherwise.  
  • [11:40] Story is a biologically based mechanism for getting things done well. 
  • [13:35] If you really focus on one great story, it has so much power behind it.  
  • [15:16] Dopamine and Oxytocin create prosocial behavior.  
  • [17:11] Hero’s Journey is so complicated and has so many steps. If you do it right, you end up with the good stuff (but if you don’t have the time or devotion it could be a jumbled mess).  
  • [18:36] Michelle shares her three-part story structure: set the stage for what is going on, describe the trouble, what you did about it, and the benefits. 
  • [20:54] Tell us what is going on, take us on a little journey where we explore the things that we need to know, and then tell us what you came to. 
  • [22:53] Story matters no matter where you are and you can tell stories in different ways. 
  • [24:19] Allowing diversity in the ways stories are told is fabulous.   
  • [26:03] If you are on a team with people from more than one culture have everyone tell one of their favorite stories from childhood.  
  • [27:44] Helping the audience participate in shaping the experience will make it so they are more invested and more likely to want to move forward (IKEA Effect).  
  • [28:38] If you have a very strong why and you can bring that into the room in a very tactile way people will spend the rest of the day leading from that place. 
  • [29:17] Melina shares about story cubes (get your own with the link below!)  
  • [31:02] It is the details that evoke feelings that make the story work. Anything you can do to add visuals to storytelling is a really good idea because it helps to evoke feelings in another way.  
  • [33:47] To be able to use a biological-based system for talking about it allows people to have better conversations, be more open, and feel more grounded while they are doing it. 
  • [35:11] Story listening is important too. You can evoke good stories from people in a way that is healing to the people telling the stories.  
  • [36:54] Decision making is impossible without feeling and stories evoke feeling.  If you need people to make a decision in the room, you need to be telling stories along with the data you are giving. 
  • [38:07] Storytelling definitely gets people over the hump of overvaluing their current state and undervaluing the change. 
  • [39:03] Start by listening to other people’s stories and hear what you like and what doesn’t work for you. What is really possible for you?
  • [40:18] Ask the three story questions: What was going on? What did you do about it? What happened?
  • [42:23] If you say this is what was going on, this is what I did about it, and this is what happened to me, people wonder what would have happened for them and start to take it in more deeply instead of saying you’re supposed to feel this way about this thing. 
  • [44:53] Simple and positive nudges can have a huge impact on behavior.  
  • [47:05] Everybody can be a great storyteller.  
  • [50:01] Melina shares her closing thoughts. 
  • [51:32] Melina’s first book, What Your Customer Wants and Can’t Tell You is officially on presale and available on AmazonBookshop, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and Booktopia. Buy today and be one of the first to receive a copy when it officially launches May 11, 2021.

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

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