For anyone that’s involved in the arts, or simply has something to share, developing your message is crucial to navigating the process of telling your story.

Like anything, the dream is free, but the hustle is sold separately. You know your story best. Crafting your story into compelling and interesting tidbits that resonate with press and consumers is what In The Lights so passionately does every day.

Telling a story is a process, an opportunity to take your audience on a literal journey, and that journey starts when you identify exactly what it is that you’re trying to say.


Develop Your Message

The first thing you need to do is develop your message. It is important to flesh out every detail into simple messaging points and then rehearse your key messages so that you’re comfortable telling your story in say, an elevator!

Ask yourself the questions listed below and evaluate whether or not the answers are something you’d be comfortable broadcasting to the world.

  1. What is your goal/what do you want to communicate?
  2. How do you want and not want to communicate?
  3. Do your points support your business/operational goals?
  4. Are your points targeted at your key audiences?

After you’ve answered these questions for yourself, or for your client, you’re ready to begin telling your story.


Follow The 5 W’s

One of the most foundational elements of telling a story is now taught in elementary schools The 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why help you, as a storyteller, communicate what your story is about.

If you can answer those prompts clearly and quickly, it assures you that you’re covering all your bases when informing your intended audience what your message is.


Start With Why 

Author Simon Sinek gave a TEDx speech that, after being uploaded to YouTube, subsequently went viral. In that speech, he outlined the heart and soul of a leader, a brand, an organization, or a story: the WHY.

He said, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it… Those who start with ‘Why’ have the ability to inspire those around them.”

Many leaders are storytellers, and they do want to inspire the individuals that follow them. But starting with what you do, and then how you do it, and then following it up with why unfortunately doesn’t inspire much action.

So ask yourself, are you starting with why (after all the why is what drives your vision)? And if you are, can you answer the questions listed below?

  1. Why do you exist?
  2. Why gets out of bed in the morning?
  3. Why should anyone care?
  4. What is your purpose?

Once you understand the 5 W’s and have a clear grasp on ‘Why’ you want people to listen to you, you’re ready to start telling your story.


Tell Your Story

When telling your story, you can use anecdotes and people to illustrate your point. The more detail you use, the easier it is for your audience to visualize. Back up your main points with data and financial results, but make sure everything connects back to the story.

If there’s a moral, or an angle you’re trying to reach, make sure the specifics of that are clear. Feel-good stories and success stories create a visceral reaction, and ultimately those emotions are what can help win or change your audience’s opinion.

We’ve created a 5 W’s worksheet for workshops, click here to download. Write down as much as you can…and then put it aside. Come back a couple of days later and highlight that stands out to you the most. Welcome to creative storytelling!

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