In 2003, Harvard Business School interviewed screenwriting coach Robert McKee. He talks about why it is essential for a leader to be a skilled storyteller in order to successfully persuade members of her team to work toward common goals. Particularly in the nonprofit sector, a leader should be able to convince potential donors and funders that his organization is worthy of receiving their financial support. Cognitive research has shown that the human mind assembles the bits and pieces of an experience into a story in order to understand and remember. We tend to forget lists and bullet points. Instead, human desire and struggle are what stay with us.
Why does it make a world of difference to go beyond rhetoric and present your case in a story? According to McKee:
Essentially, a story expresses how and why life changes. You want to display the struggle between expectation and reality in all its nastiness. It demands vivid insight and storytelling skill to present an idea that packs enough emotional power to be memorable.
Our team at Barkada Circle has worked closely with leaders of nonprofits to help them realize that storytelling is a powerful catalyst that brings together key stakeholders of an organization to the same page. Stories reveal shared values and foster deeper understanding of common goals. The outcome is a shift in the collective consciousness of the organization to create a shared narrative about the mission that has more clarity and focus. From here, leaders can take their story and develop a more compelling message that resonates with their audience.
LISTEN to Simon Sinek and Jacqueline Novogratz share stories that encourage us to take the initiative for inspiring others to change the way they think and see. Ultimately, the outcome will be something bigger than we had imagined.