Tag Archives: storytelling

Only One Day Left!

Only one more day until the story submission of the month is selected. Would anyone like to share a story and join Erik in the running for submission of the month? It can be any organization you are involved with or one that you simply want to help raise awareness of. More human and personal stories often help engage the reader. Can’t wait to hear what you all have to share.

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Mastering the Hypotheticals

We’ve been talking a lot about leadership because that’s what it takes to move people and create change. One person can’t create nearly as much change as a group and groups need a leader.

Leaders need to display two unique characteristics; sight and vision. Sight is the ability to see things for what they are and not just what’s on the surface. Vision is the ability to see what’s coming and what might be coming. A leader can’t lead without knowing which direction to go next.

This is why leaders are masters of hypotheticals. They have the ability to see what could be and move in that direction. Let’s all do an exercise in leadership skills. If you read this, please participate in the comments section. Hypothetically, what is one thing you would like to change in the world – one problem you would like to solve or group of people you would help – and, hypothetically, how would you encourage people to help you in your cause? Don’t ever be afraid of vision. It’s not daydreaming, it’s looking forward.

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Story Contest December

I just want to invite everyone to post some stories in the contest page for December. This is a great way to share what we are doing, whether you are part of a large organization or just moving for a good cause on your own.

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Changing the World with the 3 P’s

Changing the world isn’t easy but it is simple. All it takes is three P’s.

– You start with a Problem. You don’t have to provide this one, just recognize it.

– Your first contribution is a Passion to make things change. If you want to change the world, you have to refuse to let it stay the same.

– Finally, you need a Pinch (I know that’s cheating) of courage and initiative to lead the people around you toward a resolution. This is 10% vision and 90% just getting up, moving and inviting people to come along.

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Leadership That Changes Things

I’m really enjoying the stories that have come in so far. They show us that there are differences and similarities in the ways that people change the world.

Sometimes the cause is close to home and fairly familiar to everyone. What’s left is leading a group of people to do something about it; creating Momentum.

Sometimes you are trying to fix a problem that may not be familiar; something international or something people don’t want to talk about. In those cases the momentum starts by bringing the problem into perspective and raising real awareness of the issue.

In either case it comes down to leadership. We aren’t called to change the whole world ourselves and then send out support letters to keep up alive. We’re called to be the ones who mobilize people and resources and lead a movement that creates change. Cheers to these three leaders for their passion and their stories.

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Things Most People Don’t Know

I just saw some amazing pictures that tell stories. Photojournalism is a great way to bring people into a world they may never see in person. As passionate people who want to change the world in a specific way, we are all called to be journalists. We use stories, pictures and whatever else we are good at to show the realities that we want to change because so many people simply don’t know. What stories will you share?

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Dodge, Duck, Dip, Dive and…..Dodge

A talented WordPress blogger named Elisabeth, just posted about the tendency to want to escape from uncomfortable situations. It’s human nature. That’s why it’s so important not to make people even more uncomfortable by using guilt tactics when you tell your stories. Part of the art of storytelling is helping people engage with realities that would otherwise be very easy to run from.

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Using Exclusivity to Include More People

Does anyone remember the “Faceback” application from the movie “The Other Guys”? Basically it’s an iphone app that uses a picture of someone’s face to tell you what the back of their head looks like. It’s a joke and it’s meant to be ridiculous but if it were released exclusively for Macs it would be a huge success. That’s because Mac people are a different breed and they love things that are made just for them.

We all have things that are a good fit for us. The less people those things fit, the more specifically they are meant for us and the better they seem to fit. This is the whole sociological driving force behind subcultures and counterculture groups. We want to belong in a group not everyone belongs to because then we know that everyone in the group is a bit more like us than average. More exclusive means more like us.

The lesson here is not to be afraid of being specific about who fits in your cause or your group. You don’t have to cater to everyone or you will end up catering to no one at all.

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Messages That Increase Your Word of Mouth

I really hate forwarded emails. Strangely enough, I seem to attract people who really love them. Let’s just say I get a lot. Whether or not you enjoy getting forwards, there are a lot of things we can learn from forwards, re-tweets and Facebook sharing. We can learn what kinds of things are “forwardable.”

When you see the things that are passed on they usually have one or more of three qualities. The messages that are highly transferred are:

Entertaining – They are funny or provide a unique twist on a story that people enjoy hearing.

Interesting – They contain information that most people may not know and that people want to share with others. These messages have that “did you know…?” factor.

Intelligent – They contain information that people want to be associated with. It’s easy to re-tweet or forward information about a cause you care about so that people know you are part of something important, so give your listeners a message to pass along if they can’t find a way to voice it themselves.

By providing your current donors and followers with these types of messages you can increase word of mouth spread by giving your current donors and followers information that they want to pass along. A good story will always be retold.

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Bringing Your Cause Close to People’s Hearts

People tend to care about what is closest to their lives. I’ve shared this morning on the storytelling page about something close to my life. I have three wonderful little sisters who were adopted and one of them creates a direct link between me and the issues in India. For most people, this issue doesn’t touch them directly. Story is the way we connect people to the causes and issues we care about.

Case in point, two of the largest organizations who are working to end poverty, abuse and child trafficking raised a combined total of 2.54 million dollars in 2010. That sounds like a family large amount until we contrast it with the fact that a very visible cancer research charity raised approximately 400 million the same year. Does that mean that preventing cancer is more important than preventing child slavery? Of course it doesn’t.  It also doesn’t mean that donors hold that opinion. It means that cancer is closer to their lives. Most of us know someone who has been directly affected by the disease.

The lesson to learn is that charities with a cause that is close to donors need to tell that story and help them see the value of what they are doing. If your cause is not so close to their lives – something international or something that people don’t talk about – you need to tell human stories that help them realize that you are doing good for people very much like themselves.

(On a side note, $1.2 million was brought in by one of the largest organizations fighting against depression and suicide. This is a domestic issue but one that most people don’t like to talk about.)

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