I Stalked People for a Month, and Here’s What I Learnt

We constantly hear things like, “sell with a story”, “tell a good story”, “present with a story”, “build more content”, “where’s the storyline?”, “where’s the drama?”, etc. Do you ask yourself sometimes, “Why stories?” After a month of stalking people in public transport, I might have an answer.

Ok, maybe saying that I “stalked” people is too much… I watched them!

As in the case of most of the people here, my job requires me to commute to work. I spend this time listening to podcasts, reading books, checking social media, etc. But for the entire month I’ve decided to do something else: observe other people’s behavior.

I was curious how people around me on the metro/tram spend their morning commutes. I used a multi-counter app and classified my co-commuters into the following categories:

  1. Those reading books/using e-readers
  2. Those listening to something
  3. Those reading/watching something on their smartphones

I’ll be very honest, I didn’t have any expectations whatsoever regarding the outcome, but it surprised me nevertheless.

Results

I counted approximately 450 people around me during this time.113 (25%) of them were playing with their phones—and here my stalking stopped, I have no idea what they were doing exactly. 80 (18%) were reading something, and 22 (5%) were listening to something.

And the rest… Oh well, talking to some friends, or simply not doing anything that I could include in my “study”!

Basic math tells me that almost 50% of these sleepy, grumpy, coffee-deprived people prefer to consume stories in the morning!

You might think it’s not fair to put mobile users together with bookworms—but hey, why not? Isn’t all social media full of stories? Or news? Or YouTube videos?

Now, I can’t back this with any data, but I bet 20 years ago not even 50% of people on the public transport were reading. As someone working in sales, I’m more than familiar with the “sell with a story” mentality; also since being at Prowly means I’m exposed to an industry where everything is about the story you tell.

But have you ever asked yourself why a story?

We seem to love consuming stories. Even in this world, where our attention span is shorter than ever, where the amount of information that is thrown at us grows every day, we seem to be “wired for stories”.

We live in a world where we all consume stories by our own choosing!

Because of this, make sure you’re serving people good stories; regardless of the format of the story you’re telling, the job you’re doing or the industry you are operating in—tell good stories! People will consume them, and most importantly—they will come back, again and again and again. Why? Because,

“We decide which stories to read! And once we like a particular story, we’ll look for more like the first one we enjoyed so much!”

So whether you’re in marketing, PR, customer service, sales, or going on a date, tell a good story!

 

 

 

 

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