My business partner Gerard Castles and I have learned from ample experience – almost 50 years between us now, using these techniques – that it is essential to trust in the rules of storylining.
For example, if your list of bullet points includes three actions and a reason, ask yourself why. Any list should include only one kind of ‘thing’, so if you have two different kinds of thing in one list, you have a problem and it’s worth asking yourself where that problem lies. Here is an illustration so you see what I mean:
Main idea: We should implement a new analytics tool from Tarpeena Technologies.
1. It’s cost effective
2. It integrates with our current systems
3. The contract needs your signature today if we are to secure the best price
4. Tarpeena Technologies offers excellent technical support
In this scenario, point three is different from the rest and doesn’t support the main idea. If I reworked it to fix that problem, the solution might look like this:
Main idea: We should act quickly to take advantage of a well-priced offer to implement a new analytics tool from Tarpeena Technologies.
Supporting reasons ... ie. Why should we act quickly?
1. The tool is cost effective
2. The tool integrates with our current systems
3. Tarpeena Technologies offers excellent technical support
4. The contract needs your signature today if we are to secure the best price
Circle back to the rules every time you edit your communication
One of the many challenges of preparing communication at work is that many people get involved, have opinions and want to 'add value' to the communication. While this is essential, it can also be hard to manage.
Experience has taught us that sticking to the rules of storylining works to everyone’s advantage as they provide a consistent language and way of thinking about how to draw out the insights you need to convey. They also push you and your colleagues to think hard about the proposition you are putting forward, not just the way you describe it.
Although these discussions are rarely easy, finding ways to ask questions that flush out what people are really trying to say and then asking them to help you identify where it fits inside the storyline, or how the storyline needs to be adjusted to accommodate their perspective is key.
Having now raised the topic of socializing a piece of communication, tomorrow’s email will give you some ideas for managing that process.
In the meantime, download today’s notes and course challenge below. It includes some extra ideas for you too.
If anyone has been to Tarpeena and can describe it to me, I’ll send them a free copy of our book, The So What Strategy
! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PPS If you want to go straight to the next module click here