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Pixar Animator Shares Secrets to Telling a Compelling (Company) Story

Feeding Interest With The Promise Of Change

After you’ve hooked your audience/candidate, you need to catch their attention and get the story moving by animating it with change and transformation. In Pixar’s movies, that change isn’t just about reversals of fortune—they’re about personal transformation.

Great stories promise to change the life of the protagonist who we imagine ourselves to be, if not our own. In light of that, recruiters should focus on how candidates’ lives will change—not just their day-to-day tasks, but also how the new role will change the way they feel. 

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Pixar Animator Shares Secrets to Telling a Compelling (Company) Story

Pixar Animator Shares Secrets to Telling a Compelling (Company) Story

https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/blog/employer-brand/2017/pixar-animator-shares-secrets-to-telling-a-compelling-company-story

business.linkedin.com

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Key Ideas

Matthew Luhn

Matthew Luhn

“When you share a personal, professional moment where you’ve changed in a positive way, you inspire people. That's the best way to get people to change.”

Closing A Hiring Pitch

Bring the hiring pitch home with personal stories that show how people authentically live out your company’s mission. Pixar’s films often start from a real, personal story.

Your company’s big-picture mission might be inspiring, but it’s not necessarily personal. You can make it more personal by peppering your pitches with personal anecdotes about ways that you’ve changed.

Feeding Interest With The Promise Of Change

After you’ve hooked your audience/candidate, you need to catch their attention and get the story moving by animating it with change and transformation. In Pixar’s movies, that change isn’t just about reversals of fortune—they’re about personal transformation.

Great stories promise to change the life of the protagonist who we imagine ourselves to be, if not our own. In light of that, recruiters should focus on how candidates’ lives will change—not just their day-to-day tasks, but also how the new role will change the way they feel. 

Start Your Story With A Strong And Brief Hook

Most Pixar movies begin with a compelling premise—a hook—that sets up the whole narrative. Hooks are often phrased as a “what if?” question and they grab our attention because they’re unusual, unexpected, action-filled, or driven by conflict.

Recruiters should equip themselves with one-sentence pitches that wrap up the company and role they’re trying to sell. Focus on transformation to tell a compelling story—make it clear how the candidate’s life will change

Data Versus Emotion As Convincing Tools

Companies tell stories because they stir up feelings, and that’s what makes these brands memorable. Similarly, recruiters shouldn’t sell jobs as a dry collection of responsibilities and perks—you should strive to bring the role alive through stories that evoke strong feelings.

Pixar movies never flatly tell you the theme of the story—they make you experience them. Facts, figures, missions and visions by themselves aren’t nearly as memorable, impactful, or personal as a story can be.

Storytelling As A Tool

Tell stories to candidates because they stick, stir emotions, and drive decisions—that’s why they can be a companies’ most effective recruiting tool.

Research indicates that stories can be far more effective at selling a job than impressive facts and figures. With only 5% of the latter being remembered after just 10 minutes, against the 65% of stories.

Matthew Luhn

Matthew Luhn

"Don’t ever say your mission statement to someone. Tell them all the great things about your company—the ups and downs, the things you’ve learned—and let them feel the mission statement.”

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Stories create “sticky” memories

...by attaching emotions to things that happen. That means those who can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others.

Facts and figures and all the rational thi...

Start with a message

First, settle on your ultimate message; then you can figure out the best way to illustrate it.

Every storytelling exercise should begin by asking: Who is my audience and what is the message I want to share with them? 

Each decision about your story should flow from those questions. 

Use personal experiences

The best storytellers look to their own memories and life experiences for ways to illustrate their message. 

Think of a moment in which your own failures led to success in your career or a lesson that a parent or mentor imparted.

There may be a tendency not to want to share personal details at work, but anecdotes that illustrate struggle, failure, and barriers overcome are what make leaders appear authentic and accessible.

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Three-Act storytelling structure

Three-Act storytelling structure

One of the oldest and most straightforward storytelling formulas:

  • Setup: Set the scene and introduce the character(s)
  • Confrontation or “Rising action” : Present a p...

Five-Act storytelling structure

Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid:

  • Exposition: Introduce important background information
  • Rising action: Tell a series of events to build up to the climax
  • Climax: Turn the story around (usually the most exciting part of the story)
  • Falling action: Continue the action from the climax
  • Dénouement: Ending the story with a resolution.

Before – After – Bridge storytelling formula

  • Before: Describe the world with Problem A.
  • After: Imagine what it’d be like having Problem A solved.
  • Bridge: Here’s how to get there.

Set the stage of a problem that your target audience is likely to experience ( a problem that your company solves). Describe a world where that problem didn’t exist. Explain how to get there or present the solution (i.e. your product or service).

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Purpose of Storytelling

  • Clarifies The Vision and Mission of an Organization. Reinforces the intent of the leadership. 
  • Helps to Address strong challenges of organizational culture. It ...

Exercise for Corporate Leaders

Consider utilizing the exercise below to help develop a positive story:

  • Identify a successful event within the organization, or, an accomplishment by its personnel.
  • Detail the actions leading up to and following the event in chronological order.
  • Develop a 5 minute and 2 minute version of the story for use when speaking with your internal leadership team and personnel.