Stories Worth Sharing
In a recent Coffee Chat, we sat down with master storyteller Kyle Dyer to pick her brain and garner wisdom about how to tell stories worth sharing. Like Community First Foundation, Kyle believes that the root of relationships, learning and conversation lies in listening.
As a long-time Denver-area reporter, Kyle now refers to herself as a generative reporter because her true work is generating stories of impact. Her main advice? “Don’t wait to have someone ask you about your story – be proactive! You have a plethora of stories at your fingertips and people want to hear them,” she advised.
When you share your organization’s stories, you will be noticed…and appreciated. Your stories will inspire and increase empathy for others. You can watch the entire Coffee Chat here, but we pulled out some of our favorite words of wisdom to share below. Kyle’s ebook, The Art of Video Storytelling – Seven Keys to Engage Emotionally, Stimulate Empathy and Trigger Generosity, is available free.
Q: Kyle, what are your favorite and most effective interview techniques? How do you prepare your questions and decide how to frame a story?
Open your ears. Ask questions ahead of time to find and connect on something. Start by asking your guest about themselves. Look for the why – why does it matter and why do they care?
Q: Sometimes people think their story isn’t worth sharing. What quick tips can you share to encourage someone to share their story publicly?
It’s all about listening, Kyle advises. Demonstrate that you genuinely want to hear what your guest has to say and you’ll quickly get to the heart of the story. You have to open yourself up first!
Q: When it comes to nonprofit storytelling, do you think it’s more impactful to tell a story and let the viewer/reader/listener go where they want to go, or should every story include a call to action?
Kyle says the answer is both! Whether to include a call to action in your story depends on the audience, the situation and your organization. You can help donors make the connection to action by using a “what it?” angle. What is you don’t get the support you need – what will happen then? Success stories can also be an awesome approach but be careful of getting too weighted down in the direness of the situation. Instead, listen. Then, invite partners and clients to share their perspectives. And of course, avoid asking yes or no questions.
Q: Since there are so many different platforms for storytelling, what do you think are the trendiest and most effective platforms to use today?
There’s isn’t just one platform. Each platform is tailored to different audiences. Her best advice? Repurpose content for many different platforms. In general, however, Kyle recommends a video should never be longer than about 2 – 2.5 minutes. And shorter is generally always better. She believes every story can be captured in a :15 or :30 short format.
Q: How do you feel about quality in videos today?
Audio is key! Pictures are easier to get with modern phones and cameras, but audio is tricky. If you want to invest in equipment, audio is the place. Even just using your earbuds improves audio.
Q: Many nonprofits serve diverse populations. How can we tell stories of diversity, equity and inclusion in genuine and authentic ways without letting our guests or clients feel they are being tokenized?
Ask their permission. Be honest. Share that you want different voices. Be truthful. You must give them the choice and respect their decision.
Q: What advice do you have for interviewing a child or a reluctant and shy guest? Any tips for getting them to open and share?
Show you’re interested in the person. Find ways to make a connection. Be genuine. You can get on their level. Be inquisitive and break the ice. Observe, notice, and find ways to make a genuine connection with them. Ask questions and let them know you really want to listen and get to know them.
Q: In this time when people sometimes don’t want to hear differing ideas or opinions, what advice do you have for sparking conversation?
Now more than ever, these conversations need to happen. We are all breathing the same air and if we can get on the same level with each other and just start the conversation, we’ll be making progress.
About Kyle Dyer: