Plant your feet, and other storytelling tips

yourstory

Earlier this year I gathered a few VSO colleagues to join me on the Acumen+ Storytelling for Change course, which is all about bringing (personal) stories into your professional communication, helping you to connect with (and convince) your listeners as you present.

I’ve tried before, and failed, to complete online courses; free ones like these are even harder to see through. What worked this time? Mainly it was  committing to meet weekly as a group for the duration of the modules (guilt about letting other people down is stronger than the guilt of letting yourself down, it seems). But also genuine enthusiasm within the group for the topic, and a sense that the lessons were fairly universally relevant.

Here are some of the best bits of learning for me: Continue reading “Plant your feet, and other storytelling tips”

Shapes of the future

Staying in the zone at lunchtime: food looks different depending on what future you’re in
Staying in the zone at lunchtime: food looks different depending on what future you’re in

There’s something very powerful about the idea of citizens driving change.

Because, at whatever level – from organising as a community to keep a local library open, to leading the mass protest that topples a government – it’s a reminder that we don’t need to wait for heroes to change things, just someone like you or I, who’s sufficiently pissed off to do something about it.

But even if there are some great examples of user or citizen-driven ideas (and even if ‘entrepreneur’ has become an acceptable job title for a 21-year-old), there’s no guarantee that citizens will push for changes that make for a more sustainable future. Continue reading “Shapes of the future”

How to tell it

yourstoryI hate wasting anything – time, food, money – so it drives me mad to see official publications, nicely designed and translated and distributed, that read like a copy-paste of an internal report. Or websites that leave you re-reading sentences and clicking through pages before you can understand what they actually do. It doesn’t matter how glossy or cool it looks. Overuse of jargon, heartsinkingly long paragraphs, and vague sweeping statements instead of actual facts – it’s a wasted opportunity to tell your taxpayers, partners and public what you do, and why it matters. Continue reading “How to tell it”

Kicking ass

There’s an unusual fundraising idea coming from a German NGO. Check out “Afrika Kicker”:

I love the idea, and the originality of it – not to mention how they are combining online promotion tools with (hurrah!) physical interaction and donation-gathering. I like that they’re making it less about donating and more about playing.  But of course… how effective is it really? Is it all worth it, for the limited number of 2-euro coins you can actually get from this? Or is it, more than anything else, something that just looks cool, and – as one campaigning colleague suggested, “a playground for the agency who tends to win creativity awards”? Continue reading “Kicking ass”