Storytelling is a powerful tool. As human beings we’ve built our entire existence on tales passed down from generation to generation. Because of this, it is in our nature to connect with strong narratives that speak to us on a personal level.
That’s why storytelling is one of the most effective techniques for ensuring your event messages are not only heard, but that they leave a lasting impression. We’ve put together a few tips on how to craft a story that makes an impact.
Understand your objectives
This is a point we make in so many of our blog posts but we feel its importance can never be overstated. Whether its team building activities, concept creation or the adoption of technology: every aspect of your event should play a supporting role in delivering on your objectives. To achieve this, it’s crucial to be absolutely clear on what they are.
Creating a relevant narrative for your event is no exception. There’s no point concocting a spectacular, immersive story if it doesn’t drill home your key messages, so make sure all parties involved in its development have a shared understanding of your objectives at the very beginning of the creative process.
In order for your audience to fully engage with your story, they need to invest in it early. Develop you narrative well in advance and use your pre-event marketing to lay its foundations, introducing key themes and generating excitement and an eagerness to hear more. If your audience is captivated in the run up, they’re more likely to engage on a deeper level come event day itself.
Connect with your audience
Whatever story you choose to deliver your messages through, it should be relatable. Take the time to get to know your audience and understand what narrative themes they are most likely to connect with. It can be all too easy to get swept up in the creative process and develop a storyline that appeals primarily to your own background and experience. Your story is for your audience, so ensure you step back and consider their perspective. If you don’t, you run a very high risk of losing their attention.
Align your entire event strategy
Every single aspect of your event should lend itself to the story you create. Pre-event marketing materials, on-site staging and brand activations, theming and entertainment, breakout activities - everything should enhance the narrative so as to reinforce your message and keep attendees engaged.
This is particularly important when selecting guest presenters and keynote speakers. Many presenters come with their own story to tell but however well delivered and motivational these may be, if they don’t tie in with and support your own narrative, they’re not the right fit for your event.
Vary your delivery
When we think of storytelling, we tend to cast our minds back to childhood and the tales we were told that were just the right length to hold our attention. When you develop a story for an event, it’s important to keep in mind that it may have a lifespan of several months and that keeping your audience engaged may pose a challenge.
Varying the methods through which you deliver your narrative can help keep the momentum going. Pre-event videos and teasers, interactive games, presentations, educational workshops, entertainment; there are a variety of mediums you can use to convey or reinforce particular elements of your overall story. Using interactive methods also allows your audience to become a part of the narrative themselves, again, leading to a deeper level of engagement.
Allow your story to continue
There will be certain activities that you want your attendees to undertake once the event itself has come to an end. Whether its customers purchasing a new offering, a sales team championing your latest product or a workforce engaging with a new company initiative: allowing your story to continue will help encourage this activity.
Utilise social media, internal social platforms, event websites or apps to continue the story. Social media has great storytelling capabilities – if your audience are captivated by your narrative, they’re more likely to share it with the outside world, extending your reach.
If your objective is definitive, for example, a customer product purchase, consider how to offer a post-event conclusion to your narrative that ties in with that customer making that purchase. If your objectives are ongoing and part of a series of events, consider ending on a cliff-hanger, leaving your narrative open for a sequel.
The most important thing to keep in mind when adopting the storytelling technique is that it’s all about engagement. Yes, your narratives main purpose is to help deliver on your objectives but in order to do that, it has to connect with your audience. Finding the right balance between what you aim to achieve and what your audience wants to hear is the key to storytelling success.
The Presentation Group provide Design and Content solutions to help strengthen your event message and achieve on objectives.
Looking for help developing a narrative for your next event? Talk to one of our creative Producers today.
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