Experience communications: Before the story is told

No doubt, the art of storytelling is a great way to hook attention and influence people to take action. In business communications, there’s a lot of focus on sharing compelling stories rather than just pushing information at people or telling them what to do and how to do it.

An open book with blank pages on wood tableI don’t disagree, but I also think that we miss a key ingredient of successful communication strategies when we focus on the output and not just the foundation that the story is built on. Storytelling is simply an approach. It is an excellent approach to take, but in order to be able to tell the tale, you need to have experienced something first. Something that moves you enough to tell someone else about it.

This is where a true business communicator can distinguish themselves as a thought-leader. If you are in a communications position – whether it’s internal/employee communications, marketing or public relations – you need to take your position of influence seriously. Ask yourself this, what do you think would happen if you focused more on bringing your audience/clients into an experience first before trying to tell or sell them something? For example, if you are promoting a new service, how will you get customers to experience it first before trying to sell it through words, pictures or video? If you are trying to get employees to understand a new strategy that will impact how they do their jobs, what experiences can you create for them to see first-hand the need for change?

Communication is not only about telling a story, but also creating experiences for people to become part of a story.

There is no single method about how to set-up these experiences. How you do this will depend entirely on your audience and what it is they need to understand and/or support. But if you want to inspire a culture fuelled by lively and dynamic storytelling, your role as communicator will be to influence the kinds of enriching experiences that you and others will want to share organically. This does require thinking about communications in an entirely different way. You may be tempted to say, “But I’m just a cog in the wheel,” or “It’s not my place to challenge how we do XYZ, I just tell the story.” What I’m trying to get across, though, is that it is your place to proactively provide opportunities for people to see, feel, taste and smell…and not just tell.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded? You won’t be the only one telling the story.

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Comments

  1. Thank you, Roshan, I’m going to quote you at a community building storytelling event we are hosting this weekend!

  2. Sheri Bambrough says:

    Thank you for this post. I agree wholeheartedly. Engaging the audience, creating an impact that stirs their energies in your direction, help generate the most rewarding outcome.

Trackbacks

  1. […] an interview on her Trafcom News Podcast program. Donna and I met on LinkedIn after I shared about Experience communications in an IABC group […]

  2. […] Experience communications: Before the story is told […]

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