Storytelling may have become a buzzword but the idea is not a fad, it is legendary in its strength. And when it is told in a meaningful way, the story matters.
It doesn’t matter whether you are telling a brand story or a person’s life story.
Recently, I met with a young team charged with writing very personal and compelling stories about why someone should be considered for citizenship. They had a number of bottlenecks that were confounding them.
First, they had no process and it would take days or weeks to write a story. It was frustrating to say the least.
Second, they were unfamiliar with the case officer who would be reviewing the situation and had not considered the need to write in a way that would respect what the case officer had to quickly ascertain.
Third, the compelling reason for consideration was often left to the end.
So, what are the valuable takeaways for the young team–
- As a starting point, define the story purpose and outline the compelling factors to support the desired outcome
- Converse with the people who have the story to tell – whenever possible, make that happen in person so that you have the opportunity to truly discover the underlying emotions
- Know your reader and write in a way that will capture their attention and be meaningful to them
Storytelling is the interactive art of using words and actions to reveal the elements and images of a story while encouraging the reader’s imagination. Storytelling uses words. Storytelling uses actions. Storytelling presents a story. Storytelling encourages active imagination.
When you have writer’s block, organize your thoughts using this simple outline.
Promise – Clearly communicate the WIFFM (What’s In It For Me) Give them the rationale needed to recognize the value of the outcome you want. The more provocative the promise, the more likely the reader will pay attention
Fact – Prioritize the key factors that support the rationale. Be clear and complete with your logic
Proof – Provide the reasons to believe the promise and why these factors should be considered
Summary – Tie back the Facts to the Promise and summarize how the proof directly supports the promise.
Conclusion – Reinforce the value of the outcome
And, then get started. Set a goal of writing the promise then the rest will flow quickly.
Susan K Spaulding is an Author, Facilitator, Researcher, Strategist, Consultant, and Coach.
I work with businesses and leaders to take inventory, uncover the possibilities and navigate a path forward. Storytelling is fundamental to learning, teaching, connecting and inspiring.