Eating Croissants and Telling Stories

| By: Sarah Truckey
Sarah Truckey

Last week, Angie and I kicked off our Thursday morning eating chocolate croissants at a country club and writing the story of Cinderella in a series of nine segments—starting with the beginning (#1), then the end (#9), followed by the middle (#5).

An interesting exercise indeed, but it did serve a purpose. I promise.

We were at “Fundamentals of Successful Storytelling,” a seminar hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals where local digital strategist, actor, and consultant Ed Reggi forced us to focus on not the content of our fairy tale, but rather on the process we used to tell it.

When filling in the holes (#’s 2–4 and 6–8), did we do so chronologically or not? Did we jump around? After seeing where things fit, did we want to move what we had written down as the middle? the beginning? the end? Why were we working the way we did, and, most importantly, how did that process impact the outcome of our product?

What I realized about our process when telling stories—in dealing with both Cinderella and our day-to-day tasks at the office—is that it’s not always linear. We like to lay all the information out on a sheet, print it out, cut it up into sections then physically move around the pieces until we craft a narrative that’s emotional, logical and novel—three key pieces Reggi says every story should have.

We were happy to spend our morning with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Barnes Jewish Foundation, our former clients Connections to Success and Crown Center, and other colleagues, thinking about how to spread the word about their great work.

Easily applicable to what we do here at Almanac—where we tell stories for purpose-driven brands, organizations, non-profits, etc.—the seminar reinforced our approach and reminded me why we do what we do.