Storytelling. It’s not just for bedtime anymore. Now it’s all grown up and ready to wow guests at your next event. Telling stories can be a compelling way to massively boost your event’s impact and make it more memorable because it has multi-sensory appeal. Storytelling is the all-inclusive technique to deliver that extra wow factor!
Stories have a unique power
We’re not talking about cracking a joke or relating an amusing anecdote. The point isn’t to get a laugh (or a gasp) but to communicate information, with feeling.
Think of the last fundraising event you attended as a guest. You chose to contribute not because there was a donation box by the door but because you were moved by heartwarming stories and meaningful results of the organization. You could see and feel and hear the joy – or the pain and sorrow. You could participate in the story’s happy ending by giving. And you did. That’s the power of storytelling.
But that doesn’t mean your event’s story can’t be entertaining – far from it!
Stories resonate with event attendees because they are relatable:
- They personalize your message (as long as the story is relevant to your brand and the purpose of your event).
- They draw people in, helping them connect with your brand and message as well as each other.
- Conversely, stories can provide an imaginative escape – think costumed events where guests don’t merely dress like someone else, they become that character.
- They inspire people to take action because they touch our emotions.
Storytelling can do all that because it creates an immersive experience that has specific meaning for attendees. Goodbye, boring event.
Here’s how you can harness the power of storytelling
As an event planner, you’re already tuned in to producing an immersive experience using lighting, video, images, music, projection mapping, and other snazzy options. That’s why you get your AV team involved in planning right from the get-go. We can help “storyboard” your event, too. You’re already telling a story, now you just need to expand and/or modify the content to give greater dimension to your message.
So what’s the story you want to tell?
- The journey of your industry, topic or company?
- A behind-the-scenes look at how this product or research breakthrough came to be?
- An immersive experience that gives guests a chance to get away from it all for a while?
- The main point of your event as seen through the eyes of attendees as they relate their own stories?
Some experts say that, if you want storytelling to have maximum impact, it needs certain elements beyond the obvious relatability. That’s because, while a presentation is a set of facts or ideas, stories have a “plot” and a clear ending. So, you need tension of some kind – a problem that needs to be solved, struggle to achieve progress or something that keeps guests engaged wondering what will happen next.
That requires a hero who comes to the rescue - and that hero should be your attendees, of course! They can be that hero by encouraging them to take action, which should be related to the goal of your event. These actions can be anything from donating money, buying a newly released product, or signing up for your event.
You can use interactive displays for storytelling. You can design your event as a series of stations or rooms that allow guests to literally “travel” through your story as they experience it. Get your sponsors involved in telling your story with themed giveaways.
PRO TIP: Start telling your story on social media as you’re promoting your event, and continue with “sequel” posts after the event has concluded.
Give your guests the whole story
Even the greatest story ever told still leaves work up to your imagination. Event planners can side-step that barrier thanks to AV tools and technologies. AV allows you to tell your whole story in ways that appeal to multiple senses and makes it even easier (and more inviting) for attendees to imagine themselves as part of the story.
Once upon a time, there was an event that simply everyone clamored to attend. And when it was over, they couldn’t wait to be there again next year. Will that be the story of your next event?