There are five ways to tell better stories.
One of the most effective ways to get noticed, be heard and rise above the noise is to tell great stories. Stories are a powerful tool in connecting to your audience and potential supporters; even Jesus understood the power of story as He communicated with parables throughout his ministry. And as a ministry, where your work impacts lives everyday, stories are one of your greatest assets.
The key is being able to tell great stories that connect with people and are not easily forgotten. Here are five keys to telling better stories as an organization:
1. Always start with “why”.
People can usually discover what you do without too much effort, but helping them understand why you do it is crucial. People invest their emotions, energy and resources into great and compelling “whys”. Your “why” can be the story of a person you have helped, it can be the problem to which you offer a solution or it can be the result of a life experience. Just be sure you help your audience clearly understand why you do what you do.
2. Gather experiences from your supporters or the people you serve.
Let other people talk about your organization. The first hand experience of someone from the outside always lends credibility. The key here is to understand this is not about advertising; it’s about building an audience. When you get people to listen, you can get people to take action!
3. Use consistent visuals.
Beyond the stories you tell with words, the visuals you use also communicate a powerful story to your audience. Firstly, your visual branding when, used consistently, will cause your audience to begin to associate certain emotions with your brand. Pair that with compelling photos and videos that show (not just tell!) what you do, and your story will be unforgettable.
4. Create action opportunities for your audience.
People will only listen to your stories for so long; it’s crucial that you begin to engage them in your story. Invite them to become a character in your narrative. Give them a chance to become an advocate for your cause — your “why”. Ask them to share in the experiences and the opportunities. When you inspire the mind and engage the hands, you create a loyal following that is priceless.
5. Make your stories about others.
The purpose of your story is to inspire, engage and encourage the listener or reader. The most effective way to do that is to make the story focus on your audience. Don’t spend time talking about you. Share about why your organization benefits the audience and the world. When you make your stories about others, people are far more prone to listen, engage and support your organization.
Telling better stories – intentional, strategic and purposeful stories – can be the key to your organization’s success. By focusing on your impact on others and showing why you do what you do, you invite people to be part of narrative that is changing the world.
Maurilio Amorim is the president and CEO of The A Group. An award-winning marketer and entrepreneur, Maurilio started The A Group in 2001. His passion for mission combined with his business-savvy mindset makes him a leading consultant for some of the world’s largest churches, ministries, nonprofits and businesses.