One of the main differences between a story and a narrative is this:
- A story has an audience.
- A narrative has participants.
This difference really matters if your goal is to motivate people to engage in new positive behaviors actively.
That difference is powerful. A story is consumed passively. A narrative creates an open window that acts as an open invitation for people to join you on an adventure, on a project, on a mission.
Maybe you’re launching a company; maybe you’re starting a new project. Or you’re launching a new product. Perhaps you have an invention that you want people to adopt. The range of situations could be broad, but it applies to all of them: a narrative is a powerful call to action.
But somehow, when we engage with people, we seem to have a hard time getting past the story that features us as heroes. As a result, we are in what I call the “Brag Zone”.
My theory is that we do this because we fear the lack of credibility. We think we’re not going to be interesting enough if we don’t bombard people with why our product, organization, and what we do are so great from the get-go. We know our stuff so well that it’s easy and comfortable to lead with “why us?” rather than “why you?”. But the problem is that this way to position your company doesn’t create momentum.
So, beware of the brag zone. We all hit it and get stuck in it. We don’t realize we do it, and we think it’s everybody else’s problem.
In yesterday’s edition of the Strategic Narrative Underground Sessions, I explored the concept of the “brag zone,” and I presented concrete tips to balanced it out with other stories, so your narrative creates a movement around your product or service.
You can watch the replay of this talk and discussion here.
And if this talk is helpful to you, consider joining the next one on Thursday, August 5th.
It is free, and it will inspire you to build your strategic narrative.
I am inviting you every Thursday at 9:00 am Pacific to attend a free 30-minute talk+conversation about one of the strategic narrative principles in the book I am writing. For me, it’s a chance to test new ideas. For you, it is an opportunity to connect, learn and provide input on a piece of work that you might end up using for your own benefit.