There’s so much conversation now about how to tell the right story and it’s impact on engagement, learning and retention. I say bring it on, I never get tired of hearing conversation about how to tell the right story because I’ve been focused on this since I began writing songs when I was seven years old. I’ve always had an emotional need to tell my own stories but even if you’re not wired this way, you can acquire the skill. A long time ago I discovered something that changed my life, my stories were of interest to others. I thought my song, “Holes In The Floor Of Heaven”, (Grammy nominated, CMA & ACM winner), was about my grandmother. But I found out it was about your grandmother too. It’s a very personal story for me, but it’s relate-able because it’s real and has context that many listeners understand. Everyone, including you, has a story to tell.
In my experience as a songwriter, I’ve discovered that my most personal stories are the ones that resonate the most with a wide audience. At first that seems counter-intuitive, but it actually makes sense. When any of us tap into a deeply felt, sincere, human emotion we also tap into that commonality we all share. In the same way a good novel draws us in, packing your own story with details and specifics will draw your listener in.
I’ve just started reading Steve Denning’s well-known book, The Springboard Story. A springboard story is one that enables listeners to experience a change in understanding and move forward toward new awareness. You can find out more here, Springboard Story. It’s a great guide for how to tell the right story in an organizational or corporate context.
Don’t be afraid to take creative liberty with your story. It’s okay for stories to start with one person and change or grow as they get re-told. In this way, listeners get involved with the creative process and become storytellers themselves. When I work with clients through our music team building programs, we co-create songs, or stories really, sharing the essence of what differentiates and organization, but also what makes it relatable and appealing.