So you and your leadership team have crafted a compelling vision statement in 25 words or less. Right? But how can you communicate that vision verbally in a way that inspires or engages people? Through good storytelling, of course!
Stories engage people’s hearts and minds. Stories create emotional responses. And stories stick! Good stories contain imagery and emotion, along with meaningful content, which naturally helps your listener connect with you and creates engagement. Think about some of the best speakers and communicators you know. Chances are that they are good storytellers.
Some of us are naturally good storytellers. But if you’re anything like me, the thought of communicating a meaningful message through a personal story can be overwhelming.
In my search to improve my own communication skills and engage people, I’ve found some useful resources I can share with you. Building on my blog from last fall, “Create a compelling story,” here is a strategy from David Hutchens that might help you in communicating your vision in a way that is both authentic and creates engagement.
1. Brainstorm stories that illustrate the future you want to make your vision real. Think about a description of your desired future in the following areas:
- You, your leadership
- Your team or department
- Your college or university
- The broader organization or system
Take about 10 minutes to jot down every idea you can think of in each of these areas.
2. Use these prompts, to help you create a “future story”:
- “I’m living in a world where….”
- What I am (or we are) doing
- How students, community and business leaders, others see us
- The rewards we are enjoying
3. Next, write your story in simple language. Try to write it the way you would actually SAY it. Shorter is better, especially when you are speaking.
4. Remember to include an explicit connection at the end of your story to reinforce the meaning.
This is just one template that can help you with crafting a story. What methods have you used in crafting stories that help communicate your vision?