5 top tips to successful storytelling in your organisation

There’s something enchanting about stories, whether it’s the one you remember from childhood, or a book you’ve 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 years…. it’s far from being about fairy princesses though! Stories are a powerful and memorable way of sharing information, one we’re all hardwired to understand. The method behind storytelling isn’t new, in fact you’re probably telling stories without even realising and that’s no bad thing, hidden under the guise of being a ‘communication’ or ‘business message’.

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. Don’t 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, it’ll have a lot more effect and be more trusted.

So what important tips can we learn from storytelling?

  • It’s about people: think about what will click with your audience and what they’ll find interesting
  • Get the right characters: your messages will always have more impact when you can add faces to them – and also build trust in what you’re saying
  • Differentiate and be relevant: make your messages stand out
  • Don’t be over complicated: simplicity isn’t a bad thing. Don’t spoil your message with too many facts
  • Nobody likes boring: you don’t want to create the communications nobody reads!

Intranets have the potential to be great storytelling vehicles – 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 it’s all about keeping the story moving… and you can’t do that without characters… and a creative and enabling storyteller (that’s you!). Don’t forget everyone wants to be part of a great story.

You can follow Michelle on twitter @mmnotes