Written by Emma Hanley, Newsweaver Communications Specialist
There is nothing more engaging than a great story teller and Rob Biesenbach knows all about it, especially the invaluable role storytelling can play in the world of internal communications today.
Rob is a communication professional, an actor and very much in-demand speaker, and last month we collaborated on what turned out to be a wonderful and inspiring webinar, focussing on unlocking the secrets of storytelling, creating more innovative programming to build trust with target audiences. It also looked at how to make features on corporate events more interesting and, very importantly, how to influence the C-suite!
Here’s a taste of some of the questions and answers from the webinar:
Q: What do we need to think about telling stories via video rather than slides or text? Any important differentiators to consider?
Different channels are going to require different things. Video is a great way to tell stories and it is probably second only to being there in person in terms of communicating something in a powerful way. It is important that videos are short, as the average person’s attention span is short.
I’ve worked with clients who had 10-minute videos thinking that they would work for employees because their own employees are a captive audience. I think this is really wishful thinking in this day and age. Just because people are present in a room and aren’t allowed to leave does not mean that they are present in their mind and paying attention.
There are other great ways to tell stories, such as Twitter, especially through the Storify application when you do a tweet storm and accumulate them all into a narrative on Storify.
The main piece of advice I would give is to adapt your content to whatever channel you are using. There are no hard and fast rules, basic communications practice needs to be applied.
Q: How do you deal with leadership when they want more and more details added to the story?
This is common. Firstly, I would present leadership with some of the evidence of why that detail they are looking for doesn’t matter.
Secondly, I would look for role models, people in their industry or outside of their industry, people in business that they admire or respect or a potential competitor they fear, and people who are doing it right, and show them.
Thirdly, I would try to enlist an ally within the organization, somebody who also believes, who has influence with that executive.
Finally, I would try to find some breakout star, somebody who really believes in these principles. I’d showcase someone who is getting positive feedback from audiences and with proof that it works, it is something again you can shell into the doubters.