What story is your facility telling? Part 1

Christin Baker

The Power of Story

Humans are hardwired to lean from storytelling.  Early humans painted on cave walls, ancient greek culture passed stories through traveling bards who sang of great wars and heroes, Jesus taught through parables. Storytelling ignites parts of your brain that touches our emotions, and humans remember more from emotion than we do facts.  A study in the Harvard Business Review discussed the topic of storytelling and its importance, concluding that during this time of information overload and the noise of news, telling a good story is essential to getting your message out.  The article highlighted that no matter what aspect of business you are involved in, storytelling is an essential skill. 

Your programs, the environment you create and your employees are telling a story whether you are intentional about it or not.  As soon as someone steps into your facility, they are taking in information and creating a story around it.  Your members are the “hero” of their story and when they come to your facility and to your programs they continue that story.  Your Y environment and employees have roles to play in their hero’s journey.  What would happen if you were more intentional about helping members realize how their story intersects with the story of your organization?  This is something you can do in a very seamless manner where a member’s story is enhanced by every touch point in her or his experience with your organization. In turn, the story of your organization can be told in small bits throughout a member’s journey with you.

You can create a story arc that focuses on what you can do to more intentionally create experiences to introduce your organization to a member, help them overcome obstacles and become their own hero.  All of this can be accomplished using the three-act structure of Cinematic Storytelling to create memorable and transformational experiences for your members.

The Three-Act Structure 

If you were to pick up a screenwriting book, it would break down a script into three acts and describe what needs to happen to your main character(s) in each act. You can find it in every movie you’ve watched. It is known as a formula, and it works.

Act 1 - Set up: Introduction of the hero, the main characters, the situation they are in and the struggles they might encounter.

Act 2 - Confrontation:  The hero encounters an obstacle that prevents him/her from achieving their goal.  The hero(s) will hit their “lowest point” or “point of change” in Act 2 and we as the audience feel the hurt and pain of their struggle and failure before they rise up in Act 3.

Act 3 - Resolution: The story reaches the most dramatic moment and the hero(s) goal is achieved.  

You can view almost anything through a three-act structure; including the first time someone walks into your facility, a swim lesson session, a soccer season, an annual campaign and even your employees purpose for their work. 

In the next blog post I will show you a practical application on how this can work.