Shoot the messenger – telling stories

Published by Dorian Rogers on

Shoot the messenger - telling stories

Table of contents

Personal stories have power

Has anyone ever told you a personal story that made you change your mind about something?

In our recent blog on telling stories, we looked at the power of using stories to change behaviour. A story doesn’t need to be fictional, so we included some examples of using real experiences to tell a story. For example, personal stories about how someone got scammed, may make people more vigilant than if they had simply read advice on avoiding scams. Getting the low-down from the horse’s mouth is simply more compelling.

A video of a story also doesn’t need to use actors. It can be told directly by the person who is sharing their experience. Indeed, a story told by an actor might not come across as genuine, even if it is based on a truth, and that could disengage your audience.

We respond to credible messengers

Context is important credibility that will be based on the storyteller’s own knowledge and experience. A scientist would probably not take advice from just anyone, but would listen to someone published in their field, or a colleague they respected.

In this government paper, Mindspace talk about the power of the messenger: how people are more likely to respond to people they view as an expert. Expertise isn’t the only important factor, it is also important for people to like and respect the messenger. In other words, someone in authority can be compelling as an expert, but if they aren’t well liked, it heavily diminishes the power of the message. During the height of the pandemic we all saw how the way people viewed certain political figures could mean they ignored the guidance, even if that guidance was based on the best scientific evidence.

young man recording video story on his phone

Telling authentic workplace stories

Part of our Behavioural Science mantra here at BAD is to make sure that the content clients release to their employees is personally relevant. One great way of doing this is finding relatable and credible voices to relay their authentic stories.

In the workplace, people will often listen more to someone who they can relate to in their organisation than they might to a message from senior management. People within an organisation are often an untapped resource of knowledge and experience with stories to tell that are incredibly powerful.

Of course there are some practical considerations when collecting employee stories, particularly now so many people are working remotely. It isn’t always feasible or cost effective to use a film crew, and many people won’t feel comfortable or confident in creating videos themselves.

However, most people have all the equipment they need to create a video story: their mobile phone.

Capturing stories with StoryTagger

We’ve recently partnered with a company called StoryTagger to help clients create user generated story-based content.

With StoryTagger, employees can film themselves telling their story using their mobile phone or desktop browser. The in-built question frameworks allow storytellers to structure the story in a way that brings their in-depth knowledge and experiences to the surface whilst on-screen prompts help guide them to stay on-topic when talking to the camera.

Following the step-by-step process makes it easy for anyone to record their video story – StoryTagger even tells you how good your lighting and sound are.

The storyteller can also review their videos and record them again if they aren’t happy.

young woman at desk speaking into her phone recording a video

Make telling stories easy

This makes telling stories and collecting them from across an organisation easy, anywhere in the world, without the need for the time and budget required for a complex video production.

Authentic stories from credible messengers have power, and they aren’t difficult or expensive to capture. Every employer has a wealth of untapped resources in-house that can help support in the delivery of messages that can lead to tangible behavioural change.

Get in touch if you want to hear more about how BAD can help you use behavioural science and StoryTagger to create a learning programme that includes telling stories to make a real difference.

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