Stories are one of the greatest inventions in human history. So much of our knowledge and experience is passed on to the next generations and remembered by means of storytelling, and the same is true for innovations and ideas. An idea only gains a following and support if people can relate to it and how better to do that than through an emotional and engaging story?
So, how do you create a great story that people want to listen to and be part of?
You need to think of these five aspects:
- Consider the setting
- Be authentic
- Have a clear outcome
- Be consistent
- Involve your audience
What these exactly mean, will be detailed in the following.
1# Consider the setting
Your goal is to create a story that grabs the attention of your audience and keeps them engaged. That means telling a personal story with a clear focus that conveys a situation that is relatable.
Consider the followings question before you start structuring your story:
- Who is telling the story?
- Why is the story being told?
- When and where is the story taking place?
- Who are the people in the story?
- What are the people trying to achieve?
- What challenges are faced?
Setting the scene is crucial so your audience knows the parameters of your story, and likewise is communicating to them why you’re telling them the story – what made you start on your journey? What kept you going? That will create a narrative and retain their attention until the end.
2# Be authentic
Of course, creating a great and elaborate story would be ideal, but instead of making things up or exaggerating it’s better to write an authentic and genuine story. Share your successes and failures, your ups and downs, your hard times, and your good times. It’s relatable, emotionally catching, and can even be deeply inspiring.
When you are authentic, you create a certain energy, people want to be around you because you are unique.– Andie MacDowell
3# Have a clear outcome
A good story leaves your audience with a lesson, an emotion, and tangible action steps. You don’t just want them to know about your project, they should feel connected to it and be willing to take action on its behalf. You want people to promote your project and spread the word because they feel personally connected to it. Let them know how they best can support you.
4# Be consistent
Your story and your project should be consistent in all of your communications across all your channels. When you talk about your project in a conversation, on social media or in school, the story should be aligned. Similarly, your audience and your team should feel the same about your idea. Involve people consistently.
5# Involve your audience
The goal of your story is to create an emotional connection with your customers. Talk about your WHY and what you’ve learned from your struggles. (If you want to find your why, have a look at our recent blog post about The Golden Circle) It makes your story memorable. If possible, try also to involve your audience as characters.
If you take all of these things into consideration, you will have better chances of succeeding with your brand. And the more you involve everyone in your project, the more representative your story will be. When we create values, guidelines, or add chapters to our story, we do it with the whole team.
Why is storytelling so powerful? Well, stories can actually influence our brain chemistry. Wanna dive deeper into the science of storytelling? Check out this TEDx talk from TEDxStockholm, where presentations expert David JP Phillips shares key neurological findings and the magical science behind storytelling.