The importance of narrative

I have a friend, a very good friend, we share the same outlook on life, we
both work in the digital industry and we both share a passion for sport,
technology and generally interesting stuff. We get on well. To us, life is
one long conversation, we think nothing of sending an email with nothing
in the subject field and just a URL in the message field, we use iPhones to
send photos and SMSs of interesting things to each other without really
having a set dialogue and we use Skype to connect and share during the
day.

Nothing abnormal there you might think. Perhaps you are right but what
I find interesting is our ability to build a narrative around our everyday
lives through multiple platforms. What I find even more interesting is
how we can actually maintain two different conversations on two different
platforms simultaneously, even if the mood is darker on one platform and
jolly on the other platform.

The ability to build narrative is important nowadays especially for
communicators; audiences and messaging have become so fragmented that
there has to be a story behind the communication, the narrative builds a
sense of inclusion to the audience or in my friends and I’s case both of us.
Most importantly it connects us to the bigger picture – the story behind the
messages.

The story-behind-the-messages. This is ultimate goal for every
communicator, getting the audience to ‘get’ the bigger picture. Using
narrative is a great way to do this – if the narrative is right then every
message should resonate with the reader, if the narrative is wrong,
messages will be misinterpreted and potentially distrusted. Building
the brand narrative takes time and like a personal narrative, takes a lot
of commitment and understanding from both parties. There is no right
or wrong way to getting the right narrative in a corporate context, it’s a
question of building trust and rapport.

I mentioned earlier that my friend and I communicate constantly and
build up narrative through a variety of platforms; Skype, iPhones, etc.
This has enabled us to reach a point of understanding, trust and a sense
of ‘getting it’ as we are now free to communicate anywhere and everywhere.
This is my mind is fundamental to bringing the narrative to life and

bringing it into real-time relevancy. The key here for communicators
is to adopt as many methods as possible to build the storyline, amplify
events, allow senior teams to communicate how they feel most comfortable
and empower everyone with the tools to engage and watch how greater
understanding and more effective communications can take place simply
by having a strong narrative in place.

Further reading: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/03/using_stories_as_a_tool_of_per.html

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