“Tell your story!” “Everyone is a story teller!” “STORY STORY STORY”
*hits self over head with tack hammer*
It’s hard. When I first shifted the focus of Final 5 from a video production company to a story telling entity, no one even knew what I was talking about. I first began sharing this idea of “we tell stories” in about 2012. At the time, I would be met with blank stares and questions. But today, you tell others you have the title of Storyteller (or raconteur, as I use… it sounds cooler, doesn’t it? No? *fart noise*), they immediately understand that it’s some form of marketing, video, or writing of content. So we’ve come a long way from the point of “why would I care about story” to “my company has a budget for story.” But it’s very clear that, even though companies understand Story more than ever, there’s still this idea of “what does it mean to me?” and “where should I even begin?”
You can only see from where you stand.
A wise man once said this to me, and it’s the same with story. Before we can begin discussing “where should I begin” we need to address where you are. If you’re an organization with an ad budget, an established Facebook page and an engaged Twitter account, you’re at a much different place than the one that doesn’t. You’re probably pretty adept at talking about your work, company, or culture in writing, possibly imagery, or video. The other might not be.
The whole story
The whole story is the foundation of how we communicate about our organizations. It sometimes shifts, and certainly the more stories we tell the better we understand it, but for the most part it is a very stable part of your organization. It includes 3 things: who you are, what you do, and why you do what you do. You should know your large story and it should take you less than 25 seconds to recite it. Your employees should know it, it can be on your website, and you probably use it at the drop of “so what do you do? ”What you shouldn’t do is spend time including it in every story. That’s why you’ve got the scenes of your story.
Scenes of a story
Look, I know it’s hard to not just say everything you possibly can about your company. It’s scary to imagine that someone who needs something you can offer sees this video, and you don’t mention it. But it’s literally the first rule of storytelling that you’ve got to cut the shit that no one cares about (I’m sure that rule is written out somewhere). Too often we feel we’ve got to squeeze everything into our story. Telling the whole story makes for a real snooze fest. That’s a trap (you know what link is… don’t click it). What you should be on the lookout for are your scenes. The scenes that can be communicated relatively easily and without too much blood shed. And it takes you digging deep. Just when you think you’ve dug deeply enough, dig deeper! Get as absolutely specific as you can. When you can tell your scenes in a way that is specific and has impact, they can represent your larger story. That’s the golden egg.