Thereís something enchanting about stories, whether itís the one you remember from childhood, or a book youíve just finished. But its power goes beyond fiction, it has the potential to revolutionise communications too, even for businesses.
Storytelling has been a buzzword in the communications world for a couple of yearsÖ itís far from being about fairy princesses though! Stories are a powerful and memorable way of sharing information, one weíre all hardwired to understand. The method behind storytelling isnít new, in fact youíre probably telling stories without even realising and thatís no bad thing, hidden under the guise of being a Ďcommunicationí or Ďbusiness messageí.
Like a story, every organisation has a narrative, with themes (encompassing news, events, projects, campaigns etc.) and characters (aka your staff and stakeholders). Your role as storyteller is to create a shared narrative that draws departments and teams in, giving them a shared identity and a solid platform to build your communications on. Donít forget people like people (humans are inherently nosy!) so one-way corporate messages, whilst often essential, will only have limited impact. If people can see the bigger picture and the people within it, itíll have a lot more effect and be more trusted.
So what important tips can we learn from storytelling?
- Itís about people:†think about what will click with your audience and what theyíll find interesting
- Get the right characters: your messages will always have more impact when you can add faces to them Ė and also build trust in what youíre saying
- Differentiate and be relevant: make your messages stand out
- Donít be over complicated: simplicity isnít a bad thing. Donít spoil your message with too many facts
- Nobody likes boring: you donít want to create the communications nobody reads!
Intranets have the potential to be great storytelling vehicles Ė a way of broadening the appeal and making it accessible. By encompassing the people in your organisation and their own narratives you can build your brand and create a shared story everyone can buy into. Finding out the faces behind the names and understanding more about what they do.
And like the stories that have evolved over centuries itís all about keeping the story movingÖ and you canít do that without charactersÖ and a creative and enabling storyteller (thatís you!). Donít forget everyone wants to be part of a great story.
You can follow Michelle on twitter @mmnotes