Almost anyone can benefit from an understanding of strategic storytelling. Storytelling For The Defense was written for defense lawyers, specifically for those who defend the “bad guys” — big companies that don’t draw a lot of sympathy.
They have a particular challenge when telling stories. As they say, “Nobody roots for Goliath.”
The guidelines from this book, Storytelling For The Defense, could apply to anyone who’s going up against a resistant audience. Here’s a memorable quote:
“[The key to successful storytelling is] understanding the needs of your audience. All too often in trials, attorneys think they are talking to people just like them, people with the same education, background, and expertise on a given case… [The 12 jury members] yearn to hear a couple of ideas conveyed in language that is clear and compelling …a story that makes sense and engages them.”
I could have used this idea for a presentation when I assumed I was talking to people like me — and like most of the people I know.
Not to worry – this is a story about stories — not football.
I live in Philadelphia, a city with a football team that won the Super Bowl last year. Philly thinks of itself as an underdog city so this event had an enormous impact. Now we’re seeing banners everywhere with the team slogan, “Fly Eagles Fly.” Thousands of people have purchased green shirts with the number of their favorite player — someone who has been compared to a divinity on social media. (I kid you not.)
A few years ago, I was invited to give a presentation to a group of people who worked in tech and design. The audience was local, live, and mostly male. I thought it was safe to use my favorite metaphor to explain website copywriting to football fans.
As I’ve written elsewhere, the theory goes like this. On any content creation project, especially websites, you can think of the copywriter as the quarterback and the designer as the offensive line. The copywriter drives the message home; the design creates a visual space where the words are most likely to be received and appreciated.
I’ve used this metaphor many times when delivering talks. Most men in the audience, and quite a few women, nod immediately. You can see an “aha” moment taking place.
This time, they all looked back at me with completely blank stares. Turned out they were techies who might follow soccer…if their kids played. At least half weren’t aware there had been a Super Bowl, let alone who won.
You can be sure I won’t make assumptions about my audience next time. It’s still a good metaphor, but just not for everyone.
If you’d like me to work with you on telling the story that’s best suited to your brand … let’s talk! Here’s the link to my most popular consultation – the Story Consultation, customized for your needs.
Free download – 3 Story Mistakes Most Business Owners Make (And The 1 Step To Avoid Them).
Click here for immediate access.