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Three Simple Ways to Tell Better Stories

03.06.13 - The story about how badly all businesses and nonprofits need to tell stories to succeed, has become, well, a really tired story. While I generally love irony as a dramatic effect, it does not do the world any good in this case. It is time for leaders who want to elevate their causes or businesses, to focus not just on telling stories - but to do so in a way that compels people to action. Here are three simple ways to tell stories that move people to act:

1. Don't be boring. This seems obvious, right? But it's an example of one of those simple things that is harder to do than you might imagine. To avoid boring your audience, make sure you are using not only the right messages, but also the right messengers. We all see deadly-boring Twitter and Facebook feeds from nonprofits and companies that remind me of the people who corner you at cocktail parties and relentlessly share their 57-point theory on arcane, uninteresting topics. The cure is multi-dimensional – from distilling or re-framing messages that are hard to communicate easily, to simply being more playful.

2. Tell stories with an authentic voice. My colleagues created a powerful 90 second video for a holiday campaign a few years back that included one clear, authentic voice – 11 year old Ricardo, who told his story in his own words. His story, and the way he tells it continue to move me and inspire me to work harder on behalf of the families like his.

3. Make sure to tell positive stories. In the social sector, there is, understandably, lots of dour and apocalyptic storytelling without a trace of hope. Clearly, serious causes require serious stories that reflect hard problems or bona fide tragedies – but this doesn't mean you can't lift up the positive stories that reflect success solving terrible problems. In pure commerce, I frequently see brands that take themselves way too seriously in a way that falls short of inspiring actual positivity. These tendencies make these companies and organizations akin to people we don't want to talk to!

- Ben Mangan

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About Tracy Diina Communications
Tracy Diina Communications provides PR and fundraising support for non-profits and small businesses who need big time results. We provide personal, mission driven attention to your organization, using our experience in issues development, communications and non-profit management. And remember…at Tracy Diina Communications, all work is totally catered to the individual client so once an organization's needs are fully fleshed out, we will determine what package we can create that will be the best fit for you!

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