.‘Narrative’ is today’s latest and greatest buzzword. Everyone is weaving the word in their conversations from the news media to politicians to businesses, neighbors and friends. Narrative is really just a fancy way to “tell your story.”
I recently led a Communications Workshop at the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Workforce Development Council in Washington DC for a room filled with aspiring (and inspiring) leaders in workforce development. We talked about organizational missions, visions, communication planning, measuring communication outputs and more. Of all these organizational brand communications areas, guess what interested attendees most?
The answer: Being able to tell their story better. Helping people understand what it is that they do! Their story. Their ‘narrative.’
I counsel those who feel the same way to focus on refining their value propositions. What value does your organization offer to different stakeholders in your work. What are the defining characteristics that are most important to the people you are talking to. Break these propositions down by each stakeholder group: clients, youth, legislators, teachers, businesses, neighbors, etc. Explain your “value” to them, and they will listen. It is simple.
It’s time to hang up your ‘narrative’ in the ‘big word closet’ and do a better job expressing your value to those you serve. At the end of the day, these become the foundation of your narrative, now and in the future.