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How to enhance your stories with an Angel’s Cocktail of emotions

Public speaking expert David JP Philips says a well-told story can trigger a biochemical reaction in our bodies. This is empathy in action, leaping like a spark across our own emotional circuits.

In this interview, Philips talks about this “Angel’s Cocktail” of positive emotions (from about 15 mins onwards).

  • Oxytocin – empathy, bonding with a character or object
  • Serotonin – anxiety and happiness depending on our status
  • Dopamine – expectation of reward or new information 
  • Testosterone – risk-taking and action

Philips suggests when you make a presentation, you should try to trigger one of these emotional reactions. Why? Because we pay attention to emotion and remember it later – and that doesn’t always apply to facts or logic. 

Here’s how Storyteller Tactics could help you mix Philip’s emotional cocktail:

Oxytocin – Emotional Dashboard to help us empathise with what the subject of your story is feeling in any moment. Shock of the Old to remind us how attached we get to old things. 

Serotonin – Rags to Riches and Happy Ever Afters, for a status-achieving story we can all root for. 

Dopamine – Story HooksSecrets & Puzzles and Leave it Out all help you create suspense.

Testosterone – DownfallMan in a Hole and The Dragon and the City all give you risk and action.

There’s one more great line in this video. Right at the end, Philips gives this advice to nervous storytellers:

“Don’t call it storytelling, for God’s sake. Just retell a daily thing that happened to you.”

(I would add, use Movie Time to make sure your “daily thing” works as a story)

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