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Storytime, Oral History, Community and Environmental Protection

Telling Your Story
The best way to communicate effectively with the public on environmental issues is to develop a simple and compelling story that's repeated over and over again in the media. To be compelling, a story must have certain core elements: a problem or threat, a victim, a bad guy who's responsible and should be held accountable, a good guy and a successful, or potentially successful resolution (you've pointed to the problem, now what's your recommended solution?).
Andy Goodman has been working this line of thought for 3 years. He has collected lots of wisdom and he generously shares it all at<a href=""></a></em>

<a href=""><img alt="agoodmanstory.jpg" src="" width="350" height="253" border="0" /></a>

<strong>Some Story Tips</strong>

* Keep the story simple
* Make a personal connection between the story and audience
* Define the "stakes"
* Manage your message (the audience may only remember the story ..Does it move your message effectively?
* Build on what Americans know and believe
* Be accurate. Have a leave behind sheet, follow up email and website with credible sources to document your points. Cite the sources in the story.
* Avoid jargon, technical mumbo-jumbo and lots of numbers
* Be consistent and repetitive
* Make it local
* Define the enemy. Characterize it as a fight between good guys and bad guys. It is a horse race. Tell them who's wearing the black hat.
* Show and tell. Use visuals to help tell the story.
* Couple problems with solutions

Provide an action "menu."
People believe they can help in a variety of ways - as consumers, as community members, as voters. An action menu that lists actions individuals can take increases the likelihood they will act on behalf of the environment. Keep in mind the distinction between public education activities and lobbying when developing your action menu.

December 9, 2003 in Advocacy, Environment, GMT Tips and Tricks, Media Training, Message Development, Organizing, Working with The Press | Permalink


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Very well put. These are great rules of communication for all fields and purposes.

Posted by: Julie Schultz at Jun 23, 2004 9:06:18 AM

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