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Public narratives build trust, connection, and engagement with both internal teams and external partners. Beyond strategic messages, authentic personal stories can resonate deeply and inspire collective action.

Communications strategies have evolved over the years, shifting from a one-size-fits-all approach to a more nuanced understanding of audience needs and preferences. However, a crucial element has often been overlooked: the power of personal connection and authentic communication.

While strategic planning is something we strongly believe in at Magnia, it’s essential to acknowledge that people don’t simply connect with logos or meticulously crafted statements; they connect with people. This applies not only to reaching external audiences but also to fostering stronger internal team communication, particularly when interacting with potential or existing partners.

This is why, in my experience training organisations and their teams, I’ve come to firmly believe in the power of public narratives. As the brilliant Marshall Ganz aptly stated, “Public Narrative is how we connect our personal story to a social change vision.”

Public narrative theory in practice

In a recent training with 35 Heads of Partnerships from an international development network, I introduced the concept of Self, Us and Now and how these elements can galvanise shared vision. Accustomed to telling their organisation’s story, this shift sparked a realisation of the power of their own narratives and how they intertwined with the corporate messaging.

One member from Afghanistan had forgotten how his organisation had impacted his community as a young child and his own lived experience of their work, bringing the room to tears as he shared his authentic narrative. He told me during the feedback session how inspired he was to tell this story in his next partnerships meeting, to best demonstrate his work in action and build connection.

If I’ve not convinced you so far, here’s some reasons why public narratives are so important to me:

1. Public narratives cut through the noise

In a world saturated with information, personal stories stand out. They allow you to connect with your audience on an emotional level, making your message memorable and impactful. When you share your personal experiences, struggles, and triumphs, you create a sense of authenticity and vulnerability that resonates deeply with others.

2. Telling authentic stories builds trust

Sharing your story shows your audience that you’re a real person with experiences similar to theirs. This vulnerability fosters trust and connection, the cornerstones of any successful relationship. When people trust you, they’re more likely to be receptive to your message and believe in your vision.

3. A shared purpose inspires action

Powerful public narratives can spark empathy, understanding, and a sense of shared purpose. They can inspire people to take action and contribute to your cause, whether it’s volunteering their time, donating resources, or simply spreading the word.

Tips for telling powerful personal stories

If you’ve not yet taken part in our training, here are some top tips to leverage personal narratives in your organisation:

1. Empower your team to tell their stories

Encourage your team members to share their public narratives with each other and in their interactions with clients, stakeholders, and the broader community. This could be through internal meetings, blog posts, social media posts, or even casual conversations.

2. Build personal relationships

Don’t underestimate the power of genuine connection. Invest time in building relationships with your key stakeholders, both online and offline. Engage in meaningful conversations, listen actively, and show genuine interest in their stories as well.

3. Create a team culture that celebrates authenticity

Encourage your team members to bring their whole selves to work, including their unique personalities, experiences, and perspectives. This fosters a more positive and collaborative work environment, leading to more creative and impactful communication strategies.

By embracing the power of public narratives and fostering a culture of authenticity, you can move beyond the limitations of traditional organisational communication. Remember, people invest in people – and when you connect with them at a human level, you unlock the true potential for successful engagement and positive impact.

Contact us, and let’s have a discussion about how your team could be leveraging the power of personal narratives.

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