Finding stories in your organization. Where are they?

As the year begins to come to a close, what are the stories you have told over the last year. Now, I do not necessarily mean what book have you read out-loud to a group of people…but stories have you sought out to find and share? In the world of marketing, branding, and pr…we find ourselves wrapped up in mission statements, branding guidelines, and style guides. Stories break all conventions…they tear down the walls of the status-quo.

I recently connected with a talented photojournalist on Twitter. Her name is Debbi Morello (@debmorello) and she is one hell of a photojournalist. Take a few minutes to check out her website here: http://www.debbimorello.com/.┬áTo me, it is hard to find people that share the same visual interests in the visual storytelling medium, taking a documentary style approach to marketing and pr…to bring the human element into the visual medium, provide a voice for those who know the story best.

When I was a young journalist, I attended many workshops with the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA.org) and Poynter Institute. These groups helped break down all the conventions and instill in me the need to always listen for the story. Think about it for a second, how many times did you think you wanted to tell a story one way, and it ends up taking an evolution of it’s own. The subjects/people shape the story.

When I walk into situations, I always listen for the story…not just look for the story. Now I realize that I am visual storyteller, but our ears are the most powerful sense. I remember going out to Wenden, Arizona after hearing reports of a town being flooded after a big rain. You see…when it rains for an extended period of time in the desert, the dry ground does not soak up the water…it has to flow somewhere. It typically flows into the valleys of the desert where southwestern towns are centralized.

I remember pulling out my camera and and listening for people, people struggling to figure out this disaster. They shaped the story. There was no need for some fancy writing, just real people telling real stories.

We can apply these same concepts inside the walls of our organizations. We can use our social skills and our senses to listen for the stories that reinforce and strengthen our organization’s message. We can move away from marketing backgrounds and become more PR/journalistic. We are storytellers inside. We like to document life. Why do you think Facebook is so successful? It is because we want to share, share our story with our friends, family, and colleagues. We take pictures, video, write our thoughts, and upload for all to see. We are writing our life story. We like to share stories.

What if we took that same initiative within our organizations. Listen for the stories within the organization and share them. Imagine just taking one or two hours a week, and walk through the halls of your workplace. Listening to the conversations, the stories. Imagine writing them down and sharing them with the world. They might want to share with their friends…more stories…bigger community of like minded people. Stories are fun. So…what stories have you told this year?

What are the stories you are telling within your organization? Please share…I am interested!