For Impact


The Simple Science to Good Storytelling

For Impact Ideas | | Tom Suddes

If you are a daily/weekly ‘user’ … this may feel repetitive.  Bear with me.

I can state unequivocally that rarely a day goes by without some reference/focus/coaching around the Power of STORY.

Here is a short ‘story’ on ‘story’ from Fast Company and Harvey Deutschendorf (speaker and author).  The Simple Story of Science to Good Storytelling:  Listening to a compelling story activates different parts of the brain, and luckily putting together a good tale isn’t always that difficult.

He reminds us that stories were the first and only way to actually share information, dreams, to entertain, inspire and to connect.  His five big points:

  1. Keep it simple.
  2. Always keep the audience in mind.
  3. Use as an opportunity to share something of yourself.
  4. Don’t take  yourself too seriously.
  5. Share some sincerely felt emotions.

I believe much of those five points can be captured in a word:  AUTHENTICITY.

We are working with one of the largest healthcare systems in the country.  Their ‘STORYLINE’ is captured in their original ‘Tagline’:  THE SPIRIT OF INNOVATION.   A LEGACY OF CARE.  The original ‘FOUNDING’ story by a group of religious sisters is so compelling that it leads into everything that they are trying to do TODAY.

We have just re-engaged with the Abbey Theatre in Ireland.  How’s this for a storyline?  The Abbey Theatre was founded before the country. The 100th Anniversary of the country is coming up in 2016, and in 1916, the Abbey Theatre played (pun intended) a critical role in the founding.

At Lewis & Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois, the story begins with what it means to actually be a COMMUNITY College.  Then, it rolls into the narrative of Dr. Dale Chapman and his amazing team that have built THE model of what a community college should look like, and do and be.

At Water for People, the story begins with their name: WATER … FOR … PEOPLE.

Craig Hospital in Denver begins their hugely compelling story with the fact that they’re not really a ‘hospital’!  Yes, they have 86 beds … but they are a place that deals with traumatic brain and spinal cord injury … with patients and their families … and RE-DEFINING POSSIBLE.

All of these clients/partners above, along with Franciscan University, NCAT, Venice Family Clinic, Irish Cancer Society, Foroige, YWCA, Education Pioneers, College Mentors for Kids, Seton Catholic Preparatory High School, Crested Butte Center for the Arts, St. Luke’s Health Foundation, Penrose St. Francis Health Foundation, Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation (to name a few more), are all focused on the most powerful and compelling way to tell their STORY!

Back to my opening line.  This ‘story‘ thing is everywhere.  I don’t think this is consultant gobbledegook or the latest fad/trend to suffer through until it goes away.

I will try to write more next week on other resources to help you TELL YOUR STORY.

If you can’t tell your STORY … you don’t deserve the time you take from the people who want to help.