Examples will get you Attention but Stories will get you Affinity

Examples will get attention but Stories will get you affinity.

Samantha ( not her real name )  is a young researcher at a high-profile agency dealing with National threats.

I was curious about her role at the agency, so I asked her how she goes about doing research. She quickly responded that her sources are open sources like newspapers, articles, and magazines. Anything that is available to a common man is what she uses, the only difference being she reads those articles all day at work and gets paid to report the findings in specific domains like South East Asian Politics. Her research helps the leadership team make decisions and take action on any anticipated National threats.

After this brief exchange, I asked Samantha and three of her colleagues to list ways their work could be enhanced. Together, in one breath they all said – if we can get access to articles that are currently blocked by the paywall we could work so much better. I  said, “ OK then let us  build a story to influence your bosses to give you the funds to get access to articles that you believe can make your work better.”

I gave Samantha a few tips on how to build communication with her boss and this is what she came up with

“Last week we were tasked with researching a certain topic and writing a report, we then came across the paywall. We requested a university intern who used to work with us to use his/ her university access to download the article for us which was a cumbersome process. Please allocate funds for us to get access to download articles that are blocked by paywalls.”

Now this is a good example and may get your boss’s attention but to make a desired change happen you need affinity more than attention. Something that sticks. That stickiness is in a story.

And this is how Samantha communicated when she transitioned her example into a story

“ Last week we were tasked with researching a certain topic. Our findings were going to help our immediate boss with making an important decision. He was going to use our research material to make a case in a presentation the next day at 9 AM. We understood the importance of the speed at which we needed to conduct this research. We got to work and within 15 mins were hit by paywalls for all the credible articles we needed. We got in touch with an ex-intern from a university and asked her for help downloading certain articles for us as the university students do have access to these articles. However, she could only do it after her classes which meant we would only have access after 5.30 PM. 
At 7 PM that day we received all the articles. Our research started at 7 PM and the next morning at 9 AM we had to submit the research report. We somehow managed to submit the report but the quality of the research was not satisfactory because by 7 PM we were all at home and collaborating on WhatsApp instead of having a face-to-face discussion. In our team, after we have done the research we all brainstorm our findings to then come up with a quality point of view. Our research is not limited to listing what we find but after listing we conduct analysis and suggest the next steps. 
On average in a week we waste close to 15 hrs getting in touch with and waiting for people who can download the articles for us which in turn delays and compromises the quality of our work and our work is related to National threats management.
We would appreciate it if the management could allocate $500 towards subscriptions to credible publications so that we can provide quality research in time for National threat management.
Feel the difference? The first time Samantha led with an example, and the second time she led with a story.
The stickiness in your communication comes from a story. This stickiness is often referred to as Affinity of the Story
Stay Storied!

Book Update

If you are not new here you would know that my upcoming boom Strategic Storytelling published by The Hachette Book Group is launching in May this year.  We are planning a few events leading up to the book launch. Please sign up here if you would like to be the first to know.


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Why the QR Code? The answer is in the request below we received from a regular blog reader.

"I attended your story telling course some time back. And I've enjoyed keeping up my knowledge with your blog. You may not have realised however, that the Whole of Government is implementing Internet Seperation. Hence I'm not able to access the links to read your articles. Could I suggest including a QR code in your emails so that I can use my mobile to scan it and gain immediate access to the article? It would be most helpful"