Meme – Tell Stories Paint Pictures
To inspire visionary action we need compelling stories and powerful pictures.
Narrative story telling is the most powerful use of human words. Pictures are the most powerful form of human imagery.
So why don’t we use these potent communicators at the office?
Outside the office, no one dares command your attention with a dry recitation of facts. And yet even modest initiatives to accumulate thousands of pages of memos, technical specifications, and traditional project plans filled with inaccessible detail, tomes barely useful for looking up the occasional fact and figure.
Passionate original action requires a deeper engagement of people’s minds and emotions. Tell stories. Paint pictures. Break free of the dry written shackles of business documents.
- Paint Roadmaps – Create a “Big Picture” of the overall project. Show the parts that are to be built and how they tie to one another. Use color. Give names to each of the parts. Leave off the excess technical detail. Provide a context for the work ahead and the diagram will be tacked up on walls and spontaneously appear at meetings for the entire life of the project.
- Illustrate Problems / Ideas – Show a diagram of how the parts of a problem, idea, or opportunity fit together. Don’t try to provide a complete picture of the entire world. Focus on the idea at hand and create a diagram that can be used as the centerpiece of discussion.
- Repot Status Visually – All those fund raisers with a big thermometer that shows the status of collections have the right idea. Make progress visible in picture. The best visual status reports transform themselves from one state to another. (change a map from red to green, fill the thermometer to the top, etc.)
- Tell Stories – Use narrative to structure and give meaning to ideas. Set the stage, identify the players, and then take them through a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. This doesn’t mean you need to write a novella, but you can do more than present a list of facts. Make something happen. Show the reason that actions matter.
- Add Pictures – Add a picture. A face. A scene. A tastes of real people interacting with the idea, problem or opportunity. People respond to people.
Boring facts never led people on a great adventure.
- Where is our big picture roadmap? Is it visually interesting, complete without too much detail?
- Does our roadshow have a story line? What “happens” to the “players” as you go from beginning to end? Does it have an inspiring ending?
- Do people bring thick documents to meetings or a single clear picture of what is to be discussed?
- Where can pictures be added to our presentations? Can we add faces? Do they seem legitimate and compatible with our message?
- Do we have stories to tell people about what we are doing?
- Are there legends and stories that are told within the team? Are the stories inspiring and validating?