Storytelling is a very powerful tool for conveying corporate messages in an engaging way: bringing simplicity to complex ideas, providing context for abstract concepts and quickly showing what’s in it for the audience. Only one problem – too many people have latched on to the style itself rather than the reason for its success.
Mention storytelling to most people and they automatically revert to the tales of their childhood. Little Red Riding Hood skipping happily through the forest on her way to grandma’s house. Blah, blah, blah, big eyes, big ears, big teeth, gulp, slash, woodsman becomes a hero. The story starts with the details, working through the background to the climax.
But as we well know, audiences want instant gratification, or at least a pretty strong promise that they are going to get something out of the time they are about to invest.
This is why the inverted pyramid has become the catch cry of online, and for the most part off line, communicators for the past decade. Get straight to the point, the message, and then provide the background, reasoning and details.
Such a direct, no nonsense format does however have its drawbacks. It can quickly become cold, soulless, clinical.
Storytelling on the other hand is warm, emotional, human. People respond so well to stories because they can picture themselves in the exact situation. There is an obvious connection.
The perfect approach in today’s fast-paced communication world is therefore a combination of the two – the personal elements of storytelling with the message-first directness of the inverted pyramid progression.
Once you get the hang of it, you will wonder why you ever communicated in any other way.