Ever wondered what special talent you need to be able to create those beautiful corporate stories that stick in your mind and tug, just a bit, at your soul? Although I’ve met some individuals who just had storytelling in their DNA, I’ve met many more who have learned a process for developing their story, that works just as well.
Corporate stories are created to connect people with the product, service or spirit of the company or organisation. Following a clean process will allow you to develop an elegant and memorable story that gets your point across. Here are the steps that I use with my clients:
- Decide your purpose
- Ask yourself “Why am I writing this story? What do I want to happen when someone hears it?”
- Having a goal for your story, and a strategy that starts with this goal, will allow you to strip away unnecessary details and tangents and to create a story that is elegantly simple and to the point
- Decide who will hear your story.
- Understanding your audience and what their needs are will inform the construction of the story content
- Just as in sales, different target audiences will have different needs and storytelling is not a time to try to design a ‘one-size-fits-all’ experience
- Get into character
- It is much easier to write a story when you think deeply about the character and traits they will role model or express.
- By envisioning the story from the inside (Character’s perspective) … and the outside (Listener’s perspective) you will be able to pin point the elements that are critical to experiencing the story fully.
- Always ask yourself, “Why is this story (or element of the story) important? Is this the best way for the character to act to get the point across?”
- Envision your emotional hook!
- An emotional hook draws attention and connects the listener to the content. Listeners remember stories and understand the underlying messages when there is an emotional hook or thread to the story
- Find a villain!!
- This is very important: our research and anecdotal information shows us that a villain (whether it be a person, representing an ideal; or a thing, like time wasters), focuses attention and brings life to the struggle that builds energy toward a positive conclusion
- Create your tag line.
- Always remember that your story is serving a purpose and it should carry a question or statement that brings attention to that purpose succinctly and crisply
Once you have created your story, take a moment to review and analyse the content from a listener-centric point of view. Consider how your listener will experience the story and what they will feel once the story is complete. Think deeply about what you want the ‘take-away’ to be and what key messages will be most important for the listener to remember in the days and weeks after they hear the story.
Analyse the …
- voice: telling a story is not the same as writing a story. Listening to a story is not the same as reading a story. Make sure the voice you are using to create the story is a storyteller’s voice, not a writer’s voice (even though you will be writing your story at first
- language: make sure the language of your story is conversational and easy to understand. The words of the story should roll off your tongue and you should feel a high level of enjoyment as you tell it – make sure your language supports this
- shifts and/or changes in the story: these create up’s and down’s that create energy to build and sustain the suspense right to the last line.
- beginning statement – ensure your story starts with a bang and grabs the attention of the listener right from the first line. Questions and emphatic statements are a great way to do this.
- theme: Is your story about a quest? Overcoming a challenge? A return from one (negative) state to a more positive one? Make sure the theme matches the key messages and characters in the story.
- level of emotion: not enough emotion causes the listener to disengage from the story, too much causes the listener to engage too heavily in the emotion…. and disengage from the story, or at least the key messages. Work on striking a balance of emotion that anchors key messages and leaves the listener with a contented feeling of connection.
We would never tend a garden without a trowel! So why not hone our storytelling skills with a few good tools? I once worked with a client who struggled to create a memorable story. I introduced this simple process, a template and a checklist to help them create and organise their information.
In no time at all, they were telling (and writing) brilliant stories. Stories that inspire and motive. Stories that allowed the listener to step into a world, not so different from their own, and emerge with new ideas, thoughts and behaviours; to achieve things they never even thought possible. This is power of storytelling. To transport and transform the listener with a few well-chosen words … and a passionate voice. Try yours. I’m sure you will be surrounded by listeners soon![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]