How to tell an engaging story - Iowa Nonprofit Summit 2013
How to tell an engaging story
Iowa Nonprofit Summit
• Who is this guy (@ctrappe) ? Where I came
from … where I’m heading
Rules, rules, rules!
• Got a question? Ask it. That increases your
chances of it being answered.
• Share your thoughts, experiences, opinions,
• This session is on the record… You may
Tweet. you can find the slides here:
• How to identify stories
• Identifying the best way(s) to tell them
• How to execute efficiently
• Identifying channels, measuring results
• Tips on making time to respond and talking
with people on all those channels.
• Who can tell me something that has
– Worth sharing
– Possible: That you shared at breakfast this
morning, dinner last night, mentioned on the
phone, calling home?
• What made it worth sharing?
• How do you know?
I have a story …
• Traffic tickets story from Gazette…
• Could you picture somebody driving past a
• And praying?
• What else?
OK…. Are you sold, yet?
OK… but telling a story isn’t enough!
Take a guess: What’s the
average attention span
Avg: 8 seconds
Down 4 seconds from 2000
Attention span of a goldfish: 9 seconds
OK… that’s funny, but what does it mean to us:
We need to get to the point!
Then simplify some more
How to spot/develop a story?
• Pay attention (gym example, outside, etc.)
• Write down ideas …
• Bring them up to co-workers (at home
maybe?) Is this interesting? What do you think
• Does it fit into our mission?
– Why would we share it? How does it fit into our
How to spot a story – Hold That
• Your stories need to fit into your business
• What would sharing a story accomplish?
– Eye opening
What are your business goals?
Examples of business goals
• Be the community connector
• Raise funds to improve the community
• Connect people to resources
Can you verbalize how this story fits into those
(or your) goals?
Once we have story, let’s share it…
Identifying the best way(s) to tell them
True/False? Every story fits on every channel!
Who has a story that was shared in a print
brochure, for example?
Can you share details?
Keep your eyes open
Write down ideas!
Make the time. Find the value!
An easy way: Record things on video/audio
– “I’m out. I don’t have the equipment.” Anyone say
that? Let’s look at the equipment you have.
• Summaries and pictures
• What are you most comfortable with?
• Share stories on channels. Don’t have a “scoop
Stories – What to do
• Share authentic stories (Doesn’t mean to share
• Involve real people
– Clip art/models >>>> Authentic/Real people
– Explain why this is important. One (off-camera)
comment from a client shown in video: “I hope this
will help donations.”
• Explain it simply.
– 21st century skills >>> Skills you need in tomorrow’s
jobs, for example
• Be specific!
Stories – What not to do
Use big words
Make up names
Look for reasons why not to share it.
– Ask people (interviewees) nicely. Give them the
option. Don’t assume people don’t want to
• Share confidential things!
If it doesn’t feel right to publish,
probably shouldn’t be
published … but figure out
what’s amiss, fix and then
Your brand voice
• How do you want to come across?
• Example for United Way in Cedar Rapids…
Serious, but fun. But not silly!
Definitely not markety!
• Avoid words like this:
– This FANTASTIC event.
– Everyone has/will have fun.
– Biggest event ever.
– The best
– The fastest
– The slickest
How are we going to do
• Do you check emails? Voicemails?
• Same for social/website/etc. Check if anyone
has said something and respond ….
• Could set time periods for this. Set
expectations … especially social.
OK. I’m tired. Time for a break…
On your own… (make a plan!)
• Pick a story (one you’ve featured or know of)
• Does it fit into business goals?
• Tell the story in 15-20 words!
• Outline how you would share on the different