You’re Communicating, but are you Storytelling?

The best-laid communications plans often fall flat. You’ve got detailed stakeholder assessments, key messages, and a step-by-step communications plan, and yet you’re not moving the needle on audience engagement. Chances are you’ve quite literally lost the plot: the storytelling.


Storytelling weaves a narrative that engages an audience and connects them to something beyond themselves. If you’re not thinking through the bigger purpose, you’re probably just communicating.

Communicating focuses on “What’s In it For Me?”

Storytelling answers “How does this make me a part of something important?”

Communicating is top-down cascading messages.

Storytelling includes authentic content that may be crowd-sourced, organic, and/or 2-way.

Communicating is push-focused.

Storytelling is pull-oriented.

Communicating is static and single-use.

Storytelling is dynamic and continuous.

Communicating is about what I need the audience to know and do.

Storytelling is about how I want the audience to feel.

Not every communication needs storytelling– a system outage notice is just that, a notice. But if you want to move an audience in a direction, make sure you’re telling a story.