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Storytelling for change

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What is storytelling?
Why is so powerful?
How do you build the story?
How do you do the telling?
How to leverage this technique for your own project?

Published in: Business
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Storytelling for change

  1. 1. Storytelling for change Aurélie SALVAIRE @asalvaire
  2. 2. What is storytelling? Storytelling is the art of using language, vocalization, and/or physical movement and gesture to reveal the elements and images of a story to a specific, live audience.
  3. 3. 4 elements of storytelling • Storytelling is interactive: two-way interaction between a storyteller and one or more listeners: tightly connect the teller and audience. • Storytelling uses actions such as vocalization, physical movement and/or gesture. • Storytelling always involves the presentation of a story - a narrative. • Storytelling encourages the active imagination of the listeners.
  4. 4. 2 essential elements 1. Story: narrative account of a real or imagined event or events 2. Telling: live, person-to-person oral and physical presentation of a story to an audience
  5. 5. Storytelling predates writing • Storytelling is among the most ancient of arts. • Stories or narratives have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and instilling moral values. • With the advent of writing and the use of stable, portable media, stories were recorded, transcribed and shared over wide regions of the world.
  6. 6. Storytelling has been here forever • Stories function as a tool to pass on knowledge in a social context. – Storytelling is the oldest form of passing knowledge and much of how we look at what we like to call facts is influenced by stories and how we interpret them. • Stories are universal in that they can bridge cultural, linguistic and age- related divides. • To hear a story is to be touched in heart and mind, in body and spirit.
  7. 7. Storytelling is a mean for sharing and interpreting experiences • Stories are a prime vehicle for assessing and interpreting events, experiences, and concepts from minor moments of daily life to the grand nature of the human condition. • Through this sharing of experience we use stories to pass on accumulated wisdom, beliefs, and values. • Through stories we explain how things are, why they are, and our role and purpose. • Metanarrative, sometimes also known as master or grand narrative, is a higher-level cultural narrative schema which orders and explains knowledge and experience you've had in life.
  8. 8. Humans are storytelling organisms • Humans lead storied lives, individually and socially. • Human knowledge is based on stories and the human brain consists of cognitive machinery necessary to understand, remember and tell stories. • Stories mirror human thought as humans think in narrative structures and most often remember facts in story form. • Facts can be understood as smaller versions of a larger story, thus storytelling can supplement analytical thinking.
  9. 9. Learning to listen • Stories are effective educational tools because listeners become engaged and therefore remember. • While the storylistener is engaged, they are able to imagine new perspectives, inviting a transformative and empathetic experience. • Because stories often have multiple layers of meanings, listeners have to listen closely to identify the underlying knowledge in the story. • Storytelling is used as a tool to teach children the importance of respect through the practice of listening.
  10. 10. Stories to heal • A personal narrative process is involved in a person's sense of personal or cultural identity, and in the creation and construction of memories; it is thought by some to be the fundamental natureof the self. • The breakdown of a coherent or positive narrative has been implicated in the development of psychosis and mental disorder, and its repair said to play an important role in journeys of recovery. • Narrative Therapy is a school of psychotherapy and therapeutic storytelling is the act of telling one's story in an attempt to better understand oneself or one's situation.
  11. 11. Stories to empower • Some approaches treat narratives as politically motivated stories, stories empowering certain groups and stories giving people agency. • Political theorist, Hannah Arendt argues that storytelling transforms private meaning to public meaning.
  12. 12. Stories as a marketing tool • For many multi-media communication complex institutions, communicating by using storytelling techniques can be a more compelling and effective route of delivering information than that of using only dry facts. • Storytelling is increasingly used in advertising today in order to build customer loyalty. • Stories are illustrative, easily memorable and allow any firm to create stronger emotional bonds with the customers.
  13. 13. Our brains are far more engaged by storytelling than by cold, hard facts. • When reading straight data, only the language parts of our brains work to decode the meaning. • But when we read a story,not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we're reading about becomes activated as well. • This means it's far easier for us to remember stories than hard facts. • Stories allow us to capture our listeners’ attention,but they also make it more likely that they will remember what we are telling them.
  14. 14. Storytelling helps you to remember the facts • Remember that great teacher that used to tell stories about what he was teaching and how those stories made you remember better what you learned as compared with that boring teacher that just ‘teached’ and whose name you have probably forgotten? • Finally we are social animals with language as the ultimate way of communicating, expressing emotions, perceiving the world around us and ourselves and even simply being.
  15. 15. The importance of mastering your narrative
  16. 16. Storytelling for change • Acumen believes that storytelling is an essential tool for changing the way the world tackles poverty because it starts with changing conversations around what we see, hear, feel and know to be true. • Change leaders see the world's potential, and tell powerful stories that inspire action.
  17. 17. Storytelling for change • Objective: to tell stories that illuminate the issues shaping our world and then invite the audience to become engaged. (Jeff Skoll) • Digital platform, TakePart.com: empirical evidence that you can both entertain and accelerate positive social change. • Participant Media is a leading media company dedicated to entertainment that inspires and compels social change. • Participant’s more than 70 films, including Spotlight, Contagion, Lincoln, The Help, He Named Me Malala, The Look of Silence, CITIZENFOUR, Food, Inc., and An Inconvenient Truth, have collectively earned 50 Academy Award® nominations and 11 wins, including Best Picture for Spotlight.
  18. 18. What is a story? • If a narrative is basically what happened, a story takes it to the next level. • It creates a structure to seek and hold far more significance. • It has a meaning.
  19. 19. What is a good story? • A story is a selective batch of information. • Don’t try to say too much! • Simple • Catchy • Personal • Authentic • Relevant
  20. 20. The hero’s journey
  21. 21. How to Structure A Story: The Eight- Point Arc 1.Stasis: normal life 2.Trigger: when… 3.The quest 4.Surprise 5.Critical choice 6.Climax: highest tension 7.Reversal 8.Resolution
  22. 22. Mixing 3 key elements
  23. 23. How to write a good story • Clear moral or purpose – there’s a reason why you’re telling this story, to this audience, at this time. • Personal connection – the story involves either you, or someone you feel connected to. • Common reference points – the audience understands the context and situation of the story. • Detailed characters and imagery – have enough visual description that we can see what you’re seeing. • Conflict, vulnerability, or achievement we can relate to – show us the challenges. • Pacing – there’s a clear beginning, ending, and segue way back to the topic.
  24. 24. Exposing your vulnerability
  25. 25. How to write a good story • Keep a log of story content. • When you have important points, match them with a story. • Practice them. • Don’t try to be perfect. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. • Use good story structure.
  26. 26. How to write a good story • Start with the message • Mine your own experiences The best storytellers look to their own memories and life experiences for ways to illustrate their message. What events in your life make you believe in the idea you are trying to share? • Don’t make yourself the hero • Highlight a struggle • Keep it simple. Less is more: choose! • Practice makes perfect
  27. 27. How to write a good story • Paint the scene. Too much detail can bore, and the same goes for too little detail. • Include your reactions to the events that unfolded. • Add dialogue. • Establish the norm, and then contrast that with how an event didn't go as expected. • Once you establish the norm of the story, describe the turning point. • Post-Commentary Wrapping Up. You can recover many bad stories by adding good post-commentary. The post-commentary allows you to reflect back on what happened and make witty comments about it.
  28. 28. How to write a good story: 5 elements 1. Setting (where your story takes place) 2. Character (the hero/heroine/protagonist who has adventures) 3. Plot (the events that unfold, the arc of what happens) 4. Conflict (the obstacles the characters encounter) 5. Theme (the resolution of the conflict, what's been learned along the way)
  29. 29. The story of me, the story of us, the story of now “…public narrative is composed of three elements: a story of self, a story of us, and a story of now. A story of self communicates who I am – my values, my experience, why I do what I do. A story of us communicates who we are – our shared values, our shared experience, and why we do what we do. And a story of now transforms the present into a moment of challenge, hope, and choice.”
  30. 30. The good news • You already know how to tell a good story. You do. You've been telling stories your entire life. • Storytelling is what psychologists refer to as an "unconscious competence" -- a skill, like walking, eating, or complaining that has become second nature to us.
  31. 31. So let’s do it!
  32. 32. First: find your why!
  33. 33. Identify your message
  34. 34. Identify your message WHAT: neo-cortex (language) WHY: limbic brain - decision, behaviour change
  35. 35. Identify your message: draw your golden circle
  36. 36. Second: pick a story! • What is the story and narrative behind everything you do as a brand, ranging from what you stand for to the reason why you developed solution X or decided to support ‘good cause Y’? • Think about how your brand was born, what inspired you to create the company and what your personal mission is.
  37. 37. Find inspiration in your life experiences
  38. 38. Third. Structure the whole speech! • The Grabber. Grab your audience’s attention with an anecdote, a question, a startling statistic or a thought-provoking quotation. • The Message. Follow the grabber with a one-line statement that succinctly tells the audience what your presentation is about. • The Closure. Sum up your main points in one sentenceand give your call to action. – This could be a direct close such as “visit our website” or an indirect close that reminds people of the hardship they will endure if they don’t take action. Really powerful speeches also reconnect with the beginning of the speech in some way. This also avoids the embarrassment of having to tell the audience that you have finished. The challenge is to have a grabber that allows an easy referral back.
  39. 39. Third. Structure the whole speech! Question Word Phrase Stat Grabber Who What When Where Impact Conclusion Story Stats Numbers Impact Your product Or service Solution What do you expect from the audience Call to action 1 clear slogan / 1 summary phrase /Tweet / headline
  40. 40. And now the telling!
  41. 41. And now the telling! • Anchor yourself • Open your shoulders and arms • Make eye contact with the audience • Use facial expressions to convey your feelings • Enunciateand vary your rate of speech • Power pose before getting on stage • SMILE!
  42. 42. Stories are told, not read. • The storyteller connects with the audience when there is no PAGE between them! • Please know your story “by heart” but not by rote memorization. • A storyteller learns / internalizes the story and then recreates it from memory, using voice and body to convey his or her understanding of the story's meaning and nuances.
  43. 43. Start and end with a boom! • Start in the action. Have a great first line that sets up the stakes or grabs attention. • Steer clear of meandering endings They kill a story! Your last line should be clear in your head before you start. • Know your story well enough so you can have fun!
  44. 44. Always assume that your audience consists of good, thoughtful people
  45. 45. Leverage mindfulness to overcome stage fear
  46. 46. Leverage mindfulness to overcome stage fear
  47. 47. Leverage mindfulness to overcome stage fear

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