Seed of Sustainability, or Just a good memory

StorytellingOk, so what does a movie have to do with the “Seed of Sustainability”? That’s the question that I got after my last post. It is a simple answer really, Storytelling!

Remember, we had done the corporate speak, we had our crisp and clean PowerPoints and pages of statistics and we had gotten no where. What I had forgotten was that I still had to persuade the audience to allow me to move forward. I had to get them to relate to what I was telling them and to make my information their information.

I had to provide a metaphor that they could understand, something that would make sense to them. They weren’t familiar with environmental or waste jargon, even though they loved corporate speak. Pictures of waste and dumpsters just made them yawn. I had to make the topic compelling,  I had to get them to use their imagination, stir their emotions and make them a part of the solution.

That’s when it hit me, what if they were inside the dumpster and they saw the boards and pipes blocking the compactor blade! I didn’t think I could get them to crawl inside, and filming the activity was not in our budget. But, it had been filmed and it was ready to use! That’s where Star Wars comes in. Years ago that little seed of inspiration had been planted in my memory and now it burst out! By bringing up the compactor scene, I could get them to visualize the condition within the dumpster. Once they saw it in their mind’s eye, they knew what was happening and how we could go about correcting it.

That’s why I believe that storytelling is an important step in helping your company or organization understand sustainability. People are tried of being told that this is bad and they shouldn’t do that. It doesn’t mean they don’t care. It just means if you want to win them over to your point of view, you better tell them a story that allows them to use their imaginations, relates to something they have experienced and allows them to use their creative energy.

Don’t think it will work? Just more soft side of the issue fluff. Just remember, Al Gore did it and won the highest storyteller award they give.

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