Friday, April 19, 2019

How to help your team members become storytellers

From time to time you will see me writing on the importance of storytelling for your nonprofit, this is because I believe storytelling engage people with your organization especially investors and donors. A story is the most powerful communication tool, a simple way to convey intention, meaning, information and emotion.

Last week we talked about how you can help your board members to become storytellers for your nonprofit, this week I would like to direct your attention to your team members and how you can help them become great storytellers for your nonprofit.

 For your nonprofit to succeed you need to get everyone onboard with storytelling, especially your team members who are engaged in the day to day activities of your organization. Each and everyone on your team has a story they can share, and those stories really matter when it comes to the success of your organization.

When your team members are involved in the storytelling journey, their storytelling offers an effective and innovative way to grab your audience’s attention. As a leader, you need to get your team members realize the value of storytelling, understand the elements of powerful storytelling, and use storytelling effectively in their professional lives.

The best way to help your team become better at storytelling is by encouraging them to practice storytelling; all good storytellers have had a lot of opportunity to practice. Your team must be motivated, imaginative and should aim to create a client experience through storytelling. The more engaging the donors and clients experience, the easier it is to compel them to connect positively with your organization. Always motivate and encourage your team to tell stories of experiences they have encountered while working at your organization. They can practice by telling one another, or have a club where everyone gets a chance to share their experience on the day to day activities that take place in your organization.

Provide your team with storytelling guidance. Sometimes creating a compelling story can seem frustrating and full of challenges, and this can be hard on your team. As a leader, you need to jump in and provide your team with guidance in storytelling. Give your team a simple story guide to follow, which ensures success while also allowing enough room for originality and inventiveness.

Provide information that your team might need in the process of storytelling. For employees to get the message out there, they have to know where to get it. Make sure all brand messaging materials are easily accessible and that they know where to access it. Meetings between leadership, staff and workers can give the employees an opportunity to ask questions and hone the message, making them better able to relay it on their own social networks.

Make storytelling a habit in your organization. We all tell stories, but some of us are better at it than others. Luckily, storytelling is a skill, and as I have said before, practice makes perfect. Invite your clients to share stories about working with your organization with others on a regular basis. Built a platform where your employees can share their experience with others on the day to day basis. Consider starting a weekly meeting with a storytelling session, kick it off yourself and then put a colleague on point. Help them with telling a story about their own life every day. Their everyday experiences can help humanize your brand and breathe personality into your content.

Help them become better at telling authentic stories. Authentic storytelling can be hard. However, story can be how you explain your mistakes and what you learned from them. Sharing your learning through story can do more than transmit your message, it makes you a leader.

Give them an opportunity to use the medium and method they would like to tell their story. Let employees choose the format that best fits their talents and interests. Some are writers, others prefer video. Some will want to write short, concise posts, others will want to go long with e-books or whitepapers, encourage and give them the chance and tools to accomplish this.

Train and empower them. Train them on the proper use of social media platforms, the key brand pillars you want to emphasize, and on the use of photo and video tools readily available on their smart phones.  Provide employees with conduits through which they can share their insights and experiences and ensure they understand that you encourage them to do so. Show them you trust them. Allowing candidates to experience the organization through the eyes and experiences of current employees is a powerful, and authentic, way to deliver the brand and the culture.

All in all, always encourage participation in storytelling, your team members are an important asset in building your organization’s brand. One way to help employees be an effective ambassadors for a brand is to let them share original information that hasn’t yet been posted through the organization’s social media accounts. Likewise, employees who proactively share posts that boost brand recognition should be rewarded.

I hope these tips will help you in engaging your team in storytelling to grow your nonprofit brand. If you do have any questions or need advice please feel free to reach out, or leave a comment below this post.

Rumishael Ulomi is a Freelance Christian Consultant, Life Coach, and Motivational Speaker in the areas of Christian Ministry, Business, Entrepreneurship, and Social Sector development residing in Moshi,Tanzania.


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