The other side of ‘storytelling’

If you have spent any time with PR or communications professionals in the last few years, you’ll have heard them talk enthusiastically about ‘storytelling’.

The thing they don’t mention is that the key to successful storytelling is what the author of Storytelling for the Revolution and co-founder of Ideas of Champions, Mitch Ditkoff, calls ‘story-listening’.

No communications person should feel equipped to go out into the world and share your stories without a genuine understanding of who you are, what you stand for and what you are trying to achieve.

Your stories are more than your brand. They’re more than your IP; they’re even more than your corporate history and strategic goals. Stories are ways to convey your essence, your reason for being and what makes you different.

And that’s where the listening comes in. When we sit down with a client, long before we start thinking about communications strategy, we’re thinking about communication needs:

  • What are the strategic goals we want to support?
  • What needs are being un-met – or even unrecognised?


  • What is at the heart of this organisation – what makes it different, and how are these elements embodied?

We need to delve beyond ubiquitous claims like ‘great people and great service’. Only then can we start to think about the stories that represent you – and how to tell them.

If you’ve ever been the subject of a media interview and spoken more freely than you’d intended, you know the seductive power of a good listener who is focused entirely on what you have to say.

Top comms professionals often bring extensive journalism experience and superior listening skills, but our searching questions are designed to uncover the gems about you and your organisation. We work to help find, shape and share your stories with the people you want to reach.

Story-telling is great, but for real success, make sure your comms people are great listeners.