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

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.

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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.”

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.
Persuasion through storytelling

Stories are a very integral part of being persuasive. 

Stories trump data when it comes to persuasion because stories are easier to understand and relate to.

What makes a story engaging
  • Suspense and “cliffhangers” allow you to create an addictive narrative;
  • Creating detailed imagery;
  • Using literary techniques for turning simple stories into memorable works of art.
  • Change made easier by providing an example.
Characteristics of persuasive stories
  • Delivery: matters as much as the content.
  • Imagery:  the brain “lights up” in reacting to imagery, truly transporting the reader to the events being described. 
  • Realism: poeple need a “human” element in the story that is easy for them to imagine.
  • Structure: people prefer stories that follow a logical manner.
  • Context: significant impact on the persuasiveness of a story.
  • Audience: determine who you don’t want reading your content along with who you do.
Focus on what matters
  • Write down the end goal.
  • Divide the goal into specific actions you need to take to get there. Think in terms of systems: focussed, routine actions that you can do daily.
  • List a...
Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do. It’s true for companies, and it’s true for products."

Seek Simplicity
  • Find out if the problem really exists, and why. This will open a path to alternative ways of solving it.
  • Some problems, which seem complex, often have simple solutions.
  • What is the surest thing in that complex problem? That becomes your First Principle, your starting point.
  • List out the possible solutions
  • Focus on one good solution while removing the rest.

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Why Interviewers Ask It

This introductory question serves as an icebreaker to lend an easy flow to the conversation. It helps the recruiter to get to know you in terms of hard and soft skills.

It’s a great op...

How to build your response
  • Present: Talk a little bit about what your current role is, the scope of it, and possibly a recent achievement.
  • Past: Tell the interviewer how you got there and/or mention a past experience that’s relevant to the job and company you’re applying for.
  • Future: Continue with what you’re looking to do next and why you’re interested in this job.
You do not have to respond in this order. Tweak it to suit you. Make sure to tie it to the job and company.
Tailor Your Answer

Interviewers want to know how your answer about yourself is relevant to the position and company you’re applying for.

This is an opportunity to articulate why you’re interested and how your objective fulfills their goals. In order to do that, spend some time researching the company. If your answers resonate with them, it shows that you really understand the role.

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Steve Jobs

“The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of ..."

Steve Jobs
Storytelling Is Everything

Whether it's telling inspiring stories to customers or delivering a presentation to executives and the board of directors, being a good storyteller helps us make the leap from Good to Great.

Product managers and designers can benefit tremendously by great storytelling, and so can anyone who is working with product design.

Purpose

Instead of selling products, we need to focus on their purpose and what good it does for the end-user. Focus on the need of the customer and design the product around it.

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Bring People Into Your World

Walt Disney took suspension of reality a step further building theme parks that brought people into his world. You can bring people into your world through storytelling and brand activation.

...

Suspend Reality

Suspending reality is a powerful storytelling technique as it creates a safe, magical world in which to contend with powerful emotions and themes, and it allows the viewer or listener to be transported and associate that escape from reality with the story.

Anything is possible and that becomes inspiration.

Focus on Shared Desires

Disney stories have a near universal appeal because they are designed around struggles and desires that are common to humans everywhere.

You can apply this message to storytelling in your company, too. When you’re communicating with your customers, you should focus on the shared experiences and desires that make your product so valuable.

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