A ‘Story Handle’ is something that you can grab hold of: it’s a notion that i am developing as part of the work around ‘Storytelling in Social Leadership’: today, i’m sharing a reflection upon that.
Some stories fly, whilst others die: some are carried forwards, through multiple communities, whilst others falter and fade, or end up the counterpoint to another dominant narrative. Within the certification, i’m encouraging people to reflect upon why. The type, relevance, and effectiveness, of the Story Handles, may be something to consider.
This is not going to be a hard set of rules: in that sense, it’s not a tool box that you can use to nail a handle to any story, and ensure that it flies. But it’s valuable to consider the ‘whys’. Why some stories fly, and others don’t. By being more mindful, perhaps we can build our own Social Leadership.
In the illustration, i’ve sketched four ideas, but it’s not intended to be definitive. Just an idea: we know from the ‘Landscape of Trust’ research that people want to engage, so we should look for engagement types of handles. Specific sites that we can attach our own experience, perspective, or story, to.
Giving ownership, whereby people can make a story their own, or even about themselves, may be one approach. We could consider that the #MeToo movement achieves this type of momentum precisely because so many women can ‘own’ that narrative.
The notion of relevance as a handle is hardly revolutionary, but nonetheless, when the Storytelling cohort identified stories that died, lack of relevance was a clear feature. Clearly there is a difference between knowing something intellectually, and actually doing it effectively.
Finally, people tend to want to invest themselves within trusted relationships, and spaces. So a story that allows us, or directs us, in a useful way, to invest, may do well. Investment can be a good handle in an Organisation that is seeking to use stories for change.
Good storytelling, in the context of Social Leadership, is unlikely to be achieved through templates and rules, but rather through the type of familiarity with the mechanisms of storytelling, of how stories are shaped and shared, that is available to any of us to find, if we just look around ourselves.