5 ways to sap the human element from your storytelling

Common blunders rob the heart and excitement from your organization’s stories. Here’s how to identify and avoid these messaging missteps.

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Still, I have a bone to pick with how some organizations knowingly (or unwittingly) get in their own way.

Here are five things companies do that can impede storytelling success:

1. The complexity conundrum

Especially in jargon-laden industries—high-tech, financial services, medical, pharmaceutical, among others—some corporate storytellers think a simple story won’t be effective. So, they add bells and whistles to pimp out their story ride so as not to “dumb it down.”

Communicators get so close to telling a beautiful story, and then that happens. It’s hard to watch. Jargon and other complexities kill clarity, and clarity is the storyteller’s responsibility, not the audience’s. When I’ve said we need to keep things simple, I sometimes am met with, “Why would we dumb it down?” Simplicity is about accessibility of message, not “dumbing it down”-a patronizing phrase.

Simplicity helps your audience to champion your story; complexity works against that. Your audience is smart, but they shouldn’t have to work hard to understand your story.

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