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How Can You use Storytelling in the Public Sector?

If you want to truly engage and hold your audience's attention, simply regurgitating facts and sticking to a rigid script won't cut it.

But, don't worry, there is something you can do to change that.

That's where storytelling comes in.

Incorporating storytelling into your everyday communication allows you to easily connect with your listeners on a more emotional level, keeping them fully engaged, interested and entertained throughout.

In this blog, we will be covering 6 simple steps to help you easily adopt the art of storytelling and improve your communication skills. 

People sat in a meeting talking about how to use storytelling within business

Storytelling is often overlooked in the public sector, where services are expected to speak for themselves.

However, it is crucial for public sector leaders to effectively communicate their organisation's vision and value in order to gain support from stakeholders. Storytelling is the perfect tool to convey the authenticity, personality and value of your organisation.

That's why we have compiled our top 6 tips for effective storytelling in the public sector.

6 Top Tips For Effective Storytelling in the Public Sector

1. Start strong and set your goals early

A strong start is important for any presentation. It gives your audience confidence that you are not going to waste their time, by establishing a clear direction for what’s going to be covered and the desired outcomes.

For example, whether you work for a local council and are trying to persuade colleagues why a certain project needs funding or get citizens involved in a community outreach programme by volunteering, your overall goal needs to be established early on. 

2. Keep it simple

'As public servants, it is important for us to understand how to effectively communicate our messages in order to influence and persuade our audience.'

The key is not to over-complicate the story and experience. Much of the time you will be presenting to more senior colleagues who may have extremely busy schedules, they may not want to learn the ins and outs of your topic, but just how it is going to be useful to them if it's commercially viable and what you need from them to move forward.

By keeping it simple and removing excess information that could take you away from the main point, you keep your presentation candid, simple and personal.

Have you got an important presentation coming up? Learn how to keep calm with these top techniques

3. Include a Corporate Narrative

A corporate narrative is 'simply a great story, told well and truthfully, about your organisation and the place it serves. A good corporate narrative helps people understand what you stand for, why you’re important and your plans for the future.'

It should also include your organisation's strengths, weaknesses, values and visions.

Engage for Success says that a strong strategic narrative should include:

  • A purpose and a vision
  • An authentic current reality
  • A clear strategic argument
  • A role for employees
  • A narrative structure
  • A human and emotional dimension

4. Be ready with supporting data

Do not make the mistake of being unable to answer a key question during your presentation. Particularly when presenting to senior managers or executives, they are experts at finding holes in proposals and content. Once you have established your point you may need to establish credibility.

Make sure you accompany your presentation with key information that will support and embellish your presentation and give it credibility, you may not want to include this in the visual presentation but make sure you have it ready for your speaking notes.

Learn more about data visualisation and how using it can benefit your organisation

confidence and resilience compressed-1

5. Make it a conversation

When preparing to give a presentation you need to remember that it should be a discussion between you and your audience, not just a long talk straight from a PowerPoint presentation which can be tedious.

For example, if you are running a community outreach programme and are trying to enrol volunteers from the audience, instead of simply stating facts about the benefits – you could recite interesting anecdotes from previous volunteers who have been involved with similar programmes before and emphasise how it changed their lives for the better. This will make your story more personable and relatable and it is more likely that your audience will take action.

Make sure you are constantly interacting with the audience and not just talking to them. This will make the presentation much more useful and engaging for your audience and they will have a chance to ask questions and interact with you throughout. 

Whether you want to supercharge your presentations or secure any deal with a key stakeholder, Khushboo Nangalia, Founder & CEO of BEYOND99, a Marketing Technology company explains why storytelling in business is a superpower:


6. Practice makes perfect

Whether you are an expert presenter or an amateur you can never be too prepared. Even a regular speaker should spend some time rehearsing.

Making sure you are prepared, allows you to be more confident and flexible especially if your audience asks some tough questions or takes you off-topic. Being prepared and having a polished presentation will leave a positive impression and will help them believe in your product.

Improve the Power of Your Communication with Storytelling

People invest time in hearing a story. Whether you want to influence key decision-makers or develop a stronger rapport with your audience, telling a story helps you convey essential pieces of information in a relatable, memorable and humanistic way in a professional environment.

Check out our Storytelling to Influence: Speaking and Presenting course to become a more powerful verbal communicator.

Chloe Martin
Senior Content Editor

2+ years in SEO and content marketing. Striving to help public sector professionals develop their skills and learn something new through high-quality content.