I was delighted at the weekend to be sent this amazing picture by Melvin Redeker of him reading The Green Executive while on a kayaking trip around the North Sea island of Noss. Melvin is a business speaker and photographer who has mission to reconnect business with the natural world – you should check out his website here for the wonderful pictures if nothing else.
Well this got me thinking, what makes someone pick up a business book like The Green Executive after a hard day’s paddling in the open sea? Well the simple answer is that I packed the book full of stories.
When I started the book I didn’t want to regurgitate the same old case studies over again, so I interviewed 18 senior managers/directors charged with transforming their business. These interviews took on a life of their own, so I included a transcript at the end of each chapter as a short intermission called “The View from the Front Line”. I found the stories were inspirational – somehow we managed to duck their PR machines’ blue pencil of death and got some really personal insights and anecdotes. Virtually all the feedback on the book – reviews and on Amazon – has lauded the interviews.
None of this is surprising – humankind has always revered the story. Very few of us would willingly wade through a book of stats, equations and mathematical proofs, but whole industries depend on stories, from the Take A Break style magazine through to blockbuster movies.
So how can you use storytelling in your green communications? In exactly the same way I used it in the book – sprinkle anecdotes and personal stories through your reports, websites and other publications. One of the interviewees from the book, Julie Parr of lawyers Muckle LLP, used a story of how one partner was taking waste paper away to use as horse bedding in their in house magazine. OK, it’s not the most exciting thing they are doing if you are a sustainability geek like me, but for the rest of the world (the people we need to communicate with) it the story is far more engaging than a bar chart or a picture of hands cupping a sapling.
So go on, what’s your story?