Performance hacks for new narratives

vom 9. December 2023

Have we become blind to the good ideas?

Imagine sitting in a dark movie theater, surrounded by dramatic images of a world on the brink – a world plagued by climate catastrophes, political turmoil and social crises. This cinema is not a fictional place, but our everyday reality, shaped by news that constantly shows us the darkest facets of our existence. I think that is precisely why it is so important to ask ourselves now: are we perhaps turning a blind eye to the helpful ways out while we lose ourselves in the dark? Are we perhaps overlooking crucial opportunities and solutions because we are focusing too much on the negative?
Presumably and that’s why here are my performance hacks for new narratives!

Especially in times of crisis, it is important to harness the power of positive narratives

It is very difficult for our brains to accept new thoughts in a polycrisis, such as the one we are currently experiencing and which is apparently still picking up speed. This limitation is not laziness of thought, but rather the default function of our brains. In threatening situations, finding good, new ideas is not planned for energy-saving reasons. But especially in times like these, it is all the more important to consciously counteract this impulse and realign our focus.

In this article, I would therefore like to explain how we can open up our thinking and integrate solution-oriented approaches into our communication about the pressing challenges of our time. It’s about finding ways to develop and promote creative and feasible solutions despite the difficulties we face.

The power of storytelling

The power of narrative design is impressively manifested in the story of the carbon footprint, which was introduced into the discourse by BP, formerly British Petroleum. A clever move that shifted collective attention away from industrial emissions and towards individual responsibility. A prime example of how targeted narratives can influence the public debate.

This episode illustrates why we should distance ourselves from a fear-driven narrative and move towards an inspiring, solution-oriented narrative. It is not enough to simply reflect on our own CO2 emissions; we should focus on stories that demonstrate collective efforts and creative solutions. Such a change in narrative strategy can bring about a profound change in our perception and actions in relation to environmental issues.

In a world characterized by constant threats, our brain reacts in a remarkable way. It switches to a mode that is intended for survival in dangerous situations – a kind of “safety mode”. In this state, however, our creative and innovative abilities are limited, as the brain is primarily focused on averting danger.

This instinctive reaction, which was once life-saving, presents us with challenges today: It inhibits our ability to develop new solutions to complex problems. In today’s crisis-ridden times, it is therefore crucial to consciously overcome this automatic “safety mode” and open up our thought patterns. Only in this way can we exploit the full range of our creative potential to answer the pressing questions of our time.

The insight into the power of narrative structures that shape our thinking in times of crisis brings us to an essential question: can we break the cycle of fear with a data-driven, hopeful narrative? This is where Hannah Ritchie comes in, whose approach shows that a fact-based, optimistic view of environmental issues can free us from the rigidity of fear and inspire solution-oriented action.

Hannah Ritchie’s positive data-based storytelling strategy

In a sea of gloomy climate scenarios, Hannah Ritchie’s work at “Our World in Data” opens up a ray of hope. It uses data not as an instrument of fear, but as a source of hope and progress. Her stories, which are based on solid facts, offer a refreshingly optimistic view of climate change that does not make us resign ourselves to the situation, but rather ready to take action.

Ritchie’s masterful use of data creates stories that go far beyond mere information and inspire us by showing that change is not only necessary, but also possible. Her depictions of historical developments and positive trends are a shining example of how we can break the cycle of fear through a grounded, hopeful narrative.

For anyone who wants to be inspired by this new perspective, Hannah Ritchie’s TED Talk is a must. Despite her charming Scottish accent, which may be unfamiliar at first, she impressively conveys how we can use positive, data-driven narratives to rediscover humanity’s capacity for positive change and bring it into the world.

Steps for creating solution-oriented stories

The power of narratives that touch our fears or awaken our longings is enormous. These stories, imbued with emotion, shape our thoughts and actions in a profound way. In a world thirsty for solutions, it is crucial that our stories not only enlighten, but also ignite a positive motivation for action. Here are some steps on how we can masterfully create such stories:

  1. Wording that promotes change: Our language shapes our reality. A change of perspective in our choice of words can open up new horizons and redefine the direction of our actions.
  2. From deficits to opportunities: It is important to step out of the shadow of problems and shine a light on the hidden opportunities that lie dormant in every challenge.
  3. Data as a source of inspiration: Use data to show that change is possible and already underway, and to inspire hope and confidence.
  4. Creating emotional resonance: A story that sows hope and sparks enthusiasm has the power to move us and inspire us to act.
  5. Clarity and simplicity: A story that unravels complex issues and makes them understandable opens the mind to what is possible and achievable.

By consciously choosing language that drives positive change, we create narratives that not only inform, but also inspire action and invite us to actively participate in shaping a future worth living.

From words to deeds: Shape the world through your stories

Now that we’ve explored the world of solution-oriented narratives, it’s up to you to put these approaches into practice. Try to turn a topic of change that is close to your heart into a positive and motivating story.

Start with a simple exercise: choose an issue that moves you personally, be it the environment, social justice, education or any other field that needs change. Research positive developments or innovative solutions that are already proving successful in this area. Use this information to write a story that not only highlights the challenges, but also offers hope and inspiration through the solutions presented.

The aim of this exercise is to hone your talent for storytelling that inspires action and conveys a positive view of change. It is about seeing challenges as opportunities for creative solutions and innovative action. By learning to look at the world through a lens of possibilities, we can change not only our thinking, but also that of the people around us.

Let’s work on this new narrative

A narrative that tells stories of progress, hope and change and accompanies us on the path to a better future.

Serial storytelling, the language of our time, unfolds a larger picture in every scene. I will use precisely this form and delve a little deeper into solution-oriented storytelling in a multi-part series every Saturday.

Each episode of the series will be a separate chapter that shows you how you can influence reality through words. This journey is complemented by my speaker retreat, where you will have the opportunity to practice and train serial storytelling. The speaker sneak peaks in Hamburg are suitable both for getting started and for practicing your skills further.

You can read me here again next Saturday when I launch my mini-series on positive narrative storytelling.

weitere Beiträge

Performance Hack: The power of storytelling

Performance Hack: The power of storytelling

How Victoria Herrmann is saving our cultural heritage and strengthening our resilience At a time when the world is changing rapidly, a voice is rising to preserve what unites us most: our stories, traditions and cultural heritage. This voice belongs to Victoria...

“My 60 Sec”

“My 60 Sec”

Lingua nerd Simone Dietrich explores the meaning of the word "human" This week, Simone shares one of her passions with us and takes us into her lingua nerd world. Her journey into the past to the roots of the word "human" offers a quick analysis of the evolution of...

Is that french?

Is that french?

Why even very different languages can sound amazingly similar. Let yourself be inspired and perhaps discover a new facet of your own way of speaking.

Anna Momber Performance Coach with laptop

I want the newsletter

So that I have Anna's performance hacks directly in my inbox and know when she has new offers for me!