Performance hacks to achieve more through storytelling

vom 16. December 2023

How storytelling can help you achieve your goals

Have you ever wondered why some stories captivate, inspire and motivate us, while others leave us cold? In my last article “Have we become blind to the good ideas?“, inspired by Hannah Ritchie’s fascinating TedTalk “Are we the last generation – or the first sustainable one?”, I raised the question of whether we need to change the way we communicate. Simply to prevent our brain from blocking innovative and creative ideas in times of crisis – often caught in “safety mode”. Today I would like to continue this search for new ways of communicating, as I promised. So here is the first blog article in my series on the power of solution-oriented storytelling.

Constructive storytelling

In a media landscape that is often dominated by sensationalist headlines, negative news and scary content often attracts our attention. Disasters and crises often dominate the news – a clear sign that this type of reporting effectively captures our attention. However, this one-sided negativity can have far-reaching consequences: It can lead to a loss of trust in the media, encourage a desensitization to serious issues and cause an increasing inability to act, as problems are constantly emphasized without solutions.

But what happens if we take a different path? Constructive journalism is a great example of an alternative approach. This approach recognizes the power of the positive and strives to paint a more balanced picture. Constructive journalism goes beyond the mere presentation of problems by also highlighting solutions, success stories and inspiring approaches. He demonstrates that news can not only inform, but also inspire and stimulate action.

The various generations of the Starship Enterprise have shown us how visionary storytelling works and how futuristic objects, such as Lieutenant Uhura’s communicator, can be turned into real technologies like airpods.

Constructive journalism also offers us a blueprint for how communication – on stage, in meetings or on social media – can be shaped. This type of journalism not only serves as a counterweight to negative reporting, but also strengthens the trust of the audience and promotes a culture of hope and progress. By highlighting solutions and positive developments, constructive journalism proves that we are not just passive spectators of problems, but active creators of a better world.

Anna’s magic question

In my coaching sessions, I often ask the questions: “What should be different for your conversation partners, your audience, afterwards than before?” and “What emotion is necessary for this?” Very often the answer is a variation of FOMO. Sometimes that really is the right thing to do, because it is necessary to create pressure. But often a “desire for…” or “emotion about…” is also conceivable.

Exploring how we can incorporate the principles of constructive journalism into our own communications, how we can make a positive impact through our words and narratives and create a narrative that not only educates, but also has the power to change the world for the better, is a far more exciting adventure than relying on cheap clickbaiting through fear and stress. By finding the balance between presenting problems and showing solutions, our stories become powerful instruments of change.

Regenerative storytelling

Imagine a world where every news story, every story we tell and every message we share is not only aimed at maximizing value for the individual, but is designed to add value at all levels. This would be at the heart of a form of communication that combines both the principles of constructive journalism and regenerative sustainability.

At the heart of this approach is the idea that we not only highlight problems through our communication, but also offer innovative, sustainable solutions that create more than just short-term gains. It’s about telling the kind of stories that help more positivity exist in the world after hearing or reading them – be it in the form of increased hope, heightened awareness, concrete action plans or even new resources.

However, this does not mean that we close our eyes to the real and often difficult challenges of our time. Quite the opposite: it is essential to clearly name and confront problems. The difference lies in the way we approach these challenges. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects, we actively look for ways in which we can draw potential for positive, regenerative change from every situation, every crisis.

Such a narrative, as it could be applied when considering an environmental crisis, for example, not only depicts the catastrophe, but also emphasizes innovative and sustainable solutions. Of which there are more than we realize. But more on that on one of the coming Saturdays …

The courage to communicate differently

Above all, such an approach requires courage. Facing the inherent conflicts and confrontations requires strength, stamina and a thick skin. It takes patience not to close yourself off, even when it becomes painful. And yet, it is precisely through this approach that our words and stories could become catalysts for sustainable change and progress.

An inspiring example of young people who are already following this path is “Unser Dialog e.V.”. This association embodies the spirit of experimenting with communication, always with the aim of re-establishing communication even where it seems hopeless to start a conversation. Through their projects and initiatives, the members of “Unser Dialog e.V.” show how to tackle challenges with courage and a spirit of innovation and find sustainable solutions, always with an eye on how their dialog projects make both economic and ecological sense.

Before I let you get back to your everyday life, here is a summary of my most important conclusions for you.

These points can help you to make your own communication more conscious and effective:

  • Courage for regenerative communication: facing up to challenges and conflicts in order to bring about sustainable change.
  • Finding the balance: Naming problems, but also offering inspiring and solution-oriented approaches.
  • Stories as catalysts: Initiating sustainable change and progress through courageous and creative storytelling.

And here’s a little guide on how to do all this, if you feel like it.

Regenerative storytelling

  1. Find your topic: Think of a topic that is close to your heart or that currently plays an important role in your life. It can be something from your professional environment, your community or a global concern.
  2. Analyzing your perspective: How do you normally view this topic? Which aspects are emphasized in your own perception or in the discussions in your environment?
  3. Look for the regenerative perspective: Think about which positive, solution-oriented or hopeful aspects may be missing in your previous view of the topic. Are there any creative approaches or solutions that you have overlooked so far? Here it can help to exchange ideas with others!
  4. Re-tell the story: Write a short story, blog post or speech in which you approach the topic with this new, regenerative perspective. You can also simply experiment with playing back your weekend story with this twist in the office, for example while chatting at the coffee machine. Make sure to integrate the challenges as well as the opportunities and solutions.
  5. Reflection and discussion: How does it feel to look at and talk about this topic from a regenerative perspective? Share your experiences and findings with friends, colleagues or here under the article.

What’s next?

Next Saturday, you’ll find the next round of my words that can change the world here on this channel. And if you are now longing for an even deeper immersion in the art of communication – and I have a feeling that this might be the case – then I cordially invite you to one of my speaker retreats. In the picturesque seclusion of France, you can focus on honing your communication skills, surrounded by nature, tranquillity and like-minded people who also believe that a well-told word can conquer the world. Imagine: Seven days in which you dedicate yourself entirely to developing your storytelling skills, far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Sounds like a little paradise for communication enthusiasts, doesn’t it? It really is like that!

Until next Saturday, stay excited and inspired. And if you’re ready to take your communication skills to the next level in the idyllic tranquillity of France, you know where to find me. The world is waiting for your stories – and I can’t wait to hear them!

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