The art of storytelling – our how-to guideGillian Varley • 29th January
Trends come and go but storytelling maintains its undeniable charm. And it’s a master tool when it comes to internal communications.
As the cold days and dark evenings of January begin to bite, our New Year’s resolutions often start to fall by the wayside.
If you’ve already broken your promise to take up yoga, give up alcohol or do The Times’ crossword every day, you are not alone!
But one resolution worth sticking to is keeping storytelling at the heart of your communications.
What’s in a story?
Stories are a versatile, powerful, and fun way to share communications like vision and values with your colleagues and stakeholders.
What better time to celebrate the art of storytelling than during National Storytelling Week from 27 January to 3 February.
Storytelling, of course, has been around for millennia. Told through a variety of media, stories have the power to entertain, educate, inform, stimulate debate, effect change and transform people’s lives.
As a universal means of communicating life experiences and the creative imagination, storytelling and stories remain unrivalled. Sad, funny, romantic, poignant, tragic, fact or fiction, true or false, stories can be found in books, paintings, films, music, videos, poetry and, more recently, via social media.
And, stories come in all shapes and sizes. From Shakespeare’s plays and Mozart’s great symphonies to Walt Disney’s Frozen and Trump’s Twitter threads.
Who doesn’t know Jane Austen’s opening line from Pride and Prejudice, “It is a truth universally acknowledged…”? Or the opening sequence in the Star Wars series, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”?
Stories in IC…
So, in internal communications, how can we harness the power of the good story? Follow these hints and tips, and you can’t go wrong:
- Think about your target audience
- Use the right tone of voice – conversational, aspirational etc.
- Remember the five Ws – who, what, where, when, why
- …plus, ‘how’?
- Write how you speak
- Keep it simple – say ‘sorry’ rather than ‘apologise’
- Keep it relevant – people always want to know ‘what’s in it for me?’
- Vary the pace. Sometimes a single word is all you need for a sentence. Honestly.
- Make it personal by basing your stories around real people
- Use quotes and a first person point of view as much as possible
- Embrace the senses – sight, smell, hearing, taste, touch – to inspire a reaction in the reader.
From vlogs and ebooks to YouTube and Instagram, storytelling has never been more popular, or more accessible.
Everybody has a story to tell. So what’s yours?