EDF Energy – the power of the start in storytelling

Last week I worked with a set of attendees who were really fizzing with energy – yes they worked for an energy provider but these guys were pretty good at generating it too. EDF Energy is the UK’s largest supplier of low carbon electricity and they wanted to know more about how to inject storytelling into their digital content. After a full day of training organised by Havas Media Group I came in for the final slot of the day. I did wonder if they would be on their last legs when I got to them but I needn’t have worried. They were ready for action.

I gave them a short introduction into the basic principles of storytelling and how using those principles might change the way you communicate at work. It is always really inspiring for me to give people tools and see how they use them, and in this session what particularly impressed me was the work the teams did on the way they would start their communication.

I had told them how a story starts by posing a question in the audience’s mind – it is the moment of transaction where you as the story teller signal that you are crafting something particularly for the benefit of your audience and they decide that they will give you some of their time as they are interested in the answer to that question. If we are telling a story we will always start with some sort of line that does this, “I started my professional life as a marine engineer”, “I am going to tell you why I will never go to Bikram yoga again”, or “I am not sure this is even a story”, are all lines I have heard as I snoop around a room of people telling stories.

So these attendees looked at their starts and asked how could they pose a question in their audience’s mind. The recruitment team were looking at interaction at recruitment fairs and their first try was what have you seen today that interests you, but after some debate they came up with the really audience grabbing question, “What inspires you?”.  They were excited to see that from the answer to this question a really audience-focused conversation could flow. In another team who were selling smart tech for the home, they stepped away from all the clever tech and its functions, and instead their first line was, let us tell you about having more control over keeping your property safe”. They had moved away from the detail to tell the story, beautifully.

They tell me that everyone found the session really useful and some of the tools to craft digital copy with storytelling in mind will be rolled out across the digital content community.

“Ann’s session was brilliant, it really got the team on their feet and thinking about what really matters when telling a story and the differences it can make when it isn’t done right.”
John Hunter – Social Media Manager – EDF Energy

So big thanks to all the attendees for their hard work on strong starts at the end of a long day!

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