The Two Types of Stories You Need to Build a Case for Change
When advocating for change we often fall back on one type of story – the gloom and doom narrative. Gloom and doom is great for showing how bad things are, or how bad things will be if we don’t change course.
But gloom and doom is really only effective for getting peoples' attention. To drive change you need to articulate a positive and uplifting vision for the future. You need a story of possibility. Stories of possibility get people excited and motivated to create a better future.
Build your story of possibility on an actual example of where things went well and tell it from the point of view of a constituent or other stakeholder. That makes it easier for your idea to live in their minds and be accessible down the road when they will inevitably ask why are we doing this?
While your story of possibility shouldn’t be overly specific or detailed, make sure you are crystal clear on the idea for the change you are advocating. It’s not enough to say we can’t do X anymore. If 'not X' is what you are promoting, that leaves 25 other options. Your story of possibility should create an experience of 'Y' as the only way forward.
Gloom and doom combined with a story of possibility is a powerful one-two punch. By starting with the negative you build awareness and emotion; and by closing with the positive you leave people inspired and clear on what needs to be done to make things better.
Want to share your story? I’d love to hear it. Comment here or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org