“I’m not the best person at putting words together. I can’t give you the melody. But I might inspire somebody.”
– Meek Mill
(This article is a companion piece to my post “The Role of Storytelling in Leading for Change.” Check it out for more tips on effective storytelling.)
You can inspire people to act by your own actions, by your art, by your numbers, or by your words. Even if you are not the world’s greatest orator, or even an experienced public speaker, your message can be dramatic. Your goals conflict with the status quo; and where there is conflict, there is drama.
Tie your message to a vision of a preferred future. Give an example of the way things are. Then describe the way they could be. Repeat this pattern with one or two more examples. Then talk about how the desired future is achievable, but only with the commitment of people in the room.
Give people real examples, preferably about people you know, or have met. Personal stories about your own experiences can have the greatest impact.
We are inspired by stories of successful collective action. We are reminded that our experiences are not isolated. We are reminded that people have each other’s backs.
We are also inspired by stories of people with empathy for others. Stories about courage inspire us, particularly those about people who have fought, or are fighting oppression.
Inspiring stories do not need to be polished, or well-rehearsed. If they are honest, passionate, and if they move you; they will move another person — or even a thousand other people.