How to make your stories matter
Imagine you’re to perform on the global stage. You fly to the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. On the flight you review the detailed briefing documents and you think about the “why” while you´re on your way to Davos – your North Star. You memorize the topics and mentally recite them with a human voice. On the train from Zurich you stare at the snow-capped mountains. . . then suddenly see something as crystal clear as the alpine air. Not a new vision, but a brighter one (in both senses of the word). You pull out a notepad and jot down the reflection.
If you have a clear idea of “why”, it is much easier to develop distinct communications. Having just returned from Davos, we still feel many go there without a clear idea of why – this is a recurring cry from our side.
A well-defined North Star guides your story: not just where and with whom to speak, but also how to tell your story with imagination.
By having a clear idea of your North Star, you can focus your search for relevant and thought provoking commentary and sound bites.
Being heard at the WEF Annual Meeting can be difficult. Being remembered is even more difficult. Although the media report internationally 24/7, competition is keen amongst the 2,500 participants. Those who are on a mission succeed the most. I know; I’ve worked closely with clients at four World Economic Forums. Here are three points to remember: prepare, host, and schedule.
- Prepare key messages: Your story should inspire not entertain. Base your claims upon reasons, and support them with evidence, not opinion or speculation. By organizing your messages logically, they’ll be easier to remember by both you and your audience. To make headlines, focus each topic on five memorable words free of jargon.
- Host conversations: Your topics might not be on the official WEF agenda, you might not be a keynote speaker in the Congress Center, but you can be heard informally. Remember, you’re talking with individuals about issues. Invite those committed to issues that orbit your topic. Perhaps a power breakfast, a relaxing lunch, or a reflective dinner at the Steigenberger Belvedere Hotel. Build your constellation of global influencers and your story will radiate, glow brighter, and sparkle more.
- Schedule time for the media: Your days will be full from dawn to dusk – then dinner and nightcaps. But plan time for the professional ears for your story, the media. Formal media interviews scheduled on Tuesday evening can reach the key influencers before WEF kicks-off Wednesday morning. In addition, make time for informal media briefings, which can radiate far-reaching effects. A mere spark might soon glitter, then glow. After all, that’s how stars are born, and how their stories are told.
Ingrid Helsingen Warner
Senior Advisor, International Communications, based in Oslo
Ingrid is currently on maternity leave. At Leidar she supports internationally-minded leaders and companies with their positioning and thought leadership activities.