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It’s stories. Always stories.

I found out recently I'll be a grandfather for the very first time. Subsequently, pictures of my little granddaughter, still in the womb, landed on Facebook. Seeing that image was nothing short of overwhelming.

It's no surprise, then, these days have been filled with reminiscing. In some strange sense, I'm envious of the rich time my daughter and her husband will have with this little girl. I fondly reflect back on the seemingly endless nights reading bedtime stories to my children.

It always amazed me then, as it does now, how often they'd choose the very same story I read the previous night. In fact, we might have gone two weeks in a row reading the identical book. We read some of those volumes so often that, three decades later, I can still recall the first 10 pages of Dr. Seuss' Star Bellied Sneetches from memory:

"Now the star-bellied Sneetches had bellies with stars
And the plain-bellied Sneetches had none upon thars..."

Here's my point . . .

What spoke to my young children then, and speaks to constituents now (more than ever), are stories.

How do you communicate your vision? Stories.
How do you get constituents to move from knowing to involved? Stories.
How do you convince a donor that their gift is an investment, not just another donation? Stories.
Why is Susan Boyle such a phenom? It's her story.

It's stories. Always stories.

Seth Godin insightfully underscores this idea in Tribes. Here's what the author succinctly prescribes for replicating your vision in others:

"People don't believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them.
They always believe what they tell themselves.

What leaders do is give people stories they can tell themselves...
Stories about the future and about change."

Here's our challenge: communicating our story in a winsome, compelling way. If done right, people will not grow weary hearing the yarn over and over again.

 

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