© Source: Anke Sommer
Das Storytelling ist eine Methode, die längst den Weg ins Business gefunden hat.

What it’s like to write a story as a champion not an ego

If you want to write a story or a publication, hold a lecture or present your services to your clients, then you’re in the right place here. Enjoy getting to know StorytellingLesen Sie hier die Bedeutung des Storytelling. Es ist auch Teil der Leadership- Entwicklung im Institut Sommer. Klicken Sie hier für mehr.... Read more:

Storytelling is a method that has long since found its way into business. Whether applied as a marketing instrument, for communication or for presentation training, it always focuses on designing texts, films, advertising approaches, etc. The aim of storytelling in this context is to involve the readers, captivate them, enthuse them for something or anchor something in their brain, with the aim of fixing the message there permanently. Storytelling also aims to create an exciting, entertaining, worthwhile story – a story that eagerly anticipates a climax, contains a drama, places characters in relation to one another and works up to a finale that at best is surprising and credible. That is why storywriters are recommended to invent the ending first and then to compose a credible story around it.

I would now like to invite you to take part in a storytelling experiment

We relate storytelling, the art of recounting a good tale, to our internal champion. He/she will take the lead and inspire us to tell (write) a story. To do this, we have to depart from the usual rules at certain points.

What are the usual rules, refined with a pinch of successful experience?

First of all I will briefly introduce the usual rules of storytelling and sum up their basic features. I will also feed in the experience in storytelling that has proved successful in my practice.

  1. First the idea, then the channels
    It all starts with the idea. Once you have the idea, you should look at the distribution channel so that the idea finds the framework in which it can be developed.

  2. Start with the ‘why’ – i.e. what is the motivation behind the story
    If we know the ‘why’, it won’t take us by surprise in the middle of the writing process. A conscious ‘why’ reduces the likelihood of suffering from long-term writer’s block.
  3. Create a protagonist, a conflict and a solution. It is important to keep to the rules of drama at this point – also suitable for commercial and targeted communication
    Be clear about the characters that play a part in your story. Visualise them. Make sure that there aren’t too many of them, because the story’s plausibility suffers if there are too many characters. Each character’s existence is justified by their usefulness for the story.
  4. Draft a plot that can be condensed into a Tweet. That is the story’s core. Only then can you start to embroider it
    The plot is the thread and the heart of the whole story. The trick is not to get lost in lecturing or descriptions, but to communicate the core. Ask yourself this question:
    What is in you that drives you to write this particular story? The answer to this question is the core of the story. Now express this core in 140 letters.
  5. Create a build-up of tension according to the old rules of the art. Why not take inspiration from the film industry?
    How do you build up tension? Start off with a big bang, then follow this up with lots of little interim events. Now build up tension and maintain it until the grand finale. And then at the end, include a nice, humorous conclusion to make the reader smile – then you’ve also done something to make them feel good. Every James Bond film up to and including 2002 follows this structure.
  6. The audience is the reason behind the story
    If our story has a purpose, we shouldn’t manipulate, play tricks or try desperately to use the tale to sell a product or service. Instead we should first entertain the audience and then reveal what our aim is.
    Now, back to our experiment.
  7. Create a transition to the champion and forget all the rules if necessary 
    But who is the champion that leads us through the writing of our story? It is our deepest talent, our emotionality, our investigative skill, our sophistication, our instinct and our power of comprehension. Our champion is revealed in our humour, in the things we love or hate, accept or reject. The more we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with preservation, protection, support and love, regardless of what we would also like to achieve in commercial terms, the more our champion speaks in our story and in our actions.

Conclusions from the champion’s point of view

Finally, I would like to include some conclusions about how different storytelling is when we carry it out through our internal champion rather than our ego. Consider the following and, if necessary, depart from the rules mentioned above:

• Important: don’t write a text in order to become rich. Become rich because your text has a beneficial effect.

• Storytelling is not really something you can teach. Either you have the spark that ignites readers’ appetites, or you don’t.

• If you put your soul onto paper, the spark will be there.

• The characters in the story should suit you, because you are the writer;
otherwise one character may disrupt the whole story.

• Take responsibility for the good in the world! Every destructive ending, however good it is, also destroys a bit of joy and confidence. You are not the only person who reads or hears the story; your audience is also listening.
It still holds: good does good and bad creates bad.

• Take responsibility in this context!

• Your personal boundary is also the boundary of the story and of your champion. If you have not finished working through a topic and start your story at this point, the topic will overtake you. You can only complete your writing when you develop yourself further on this point, thus resolving the topic.

If this makes you want to pursue this subject in more depth, you can attend our workshop on the topic: Storytelling – LEADERSHIP Principle: Communication, Leadership, Multiplication.

These events are part of a personality development programme and of the LEADERSHIP Coaching workshop series. If you attend this session, you can embark on the training programme to become a certified specialist coach.

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