Over the last 4 years, I’ve written over 400 blog posts on storytelling, fundraising, and communications. I’ve written a book, I teach a Master Class on storytelling, and have done scores of research. There really is so much information out there about storytelling. And if I had to boil it down to my 3 best pieces of advice, here’s what I would share with you.
Understand Storytelling as a Process
One of the mistakes that I made early on in my understanding of storytelling was to understand it as a goal or outcome. The reality is that storytelling is a process.
Storytelling is a series of many, on-going steps that we engage that result in stories. The more we focus on storytelling as a goal, the more frustrated we become. It’s not a point we arrive at where things are magically going well and stories are coming out of the woodwork. It’s something we have to be constantly doing.
And – the good news is – you can start taking small steps today to engage in the process and be a storyteller.
What’s a good first step? Getting everyone at your organization on the same page about storytelling. Then it’s about understanding storytelling as a process. Read more.
Learn How to Interview Someone for Their Story
Interviewing someone for their story is a real art. It’s both the most rewarding and most challenging part of storytelling. Early on in my career, I found story interviews to be really stressful. As an introvert, I wasn’t always good at impromptu conversation with people I didn’t know well. Over the years, this is a skill that I’ve had to build up.
Additionally, what I often found most frustrating is that I would spend a lot of time interviewing someone about their story, only to get back to my desk to find that I didn’t really have any useful information for the story. I had to work to find a better way of capturing information during interviews and ask the right questions.
Doing your research, carefully preparing questions, being curious, and relaxing during the conversation will help you conduct a better interview. Read more.
Develop Time & Resource Management Habits for Storytelling
Improving my time management skills over the last few years has been a game changer. It’s helped me prioritize what’s most important and actually do those tasks. As a fundraiser, making time for storytelling and stewardship is key.
I found these four hacks most helpful: blocking my time, recycling and reusing content, focusing on one thing, and doing more of what works. Read more about these tips here.