Publications & Products
Volume 2, Issue 4


Be a Better Storyteller for Your College

Storytelling is the best tool community colleges have to advance themselves and their cause, says a nonprofit communications expert.

Andy Goodman, a well-known communications consultant, author and speaker, recently told participants in the inaugural CASE Conference for Community College Advancement about the power that stories can have on decision-making and the role they play in shaping the way people view the world.

He cites several examples where organization relied unsuccessfully on facts and bullet points to tell their story. He also notes how a good story can not only be more effective, but sometimes sway opinions that are contrary to the facts.

Given the power of stories on the public, Goodman says nonprofits, such as educational institution, should use this to their advantage. He shares a video about how a group of individuals launched a campaign to save a public library which was put at risk by anti-tax politicians—by staging a book burning party.

The group played off the public outcry against a book burning party to build support for the tax measure to save the library—eventually coming public with its true intentions. The vote passed and the library was saved.

Goodman doesn't encourage colleges to be untruthful in their efforts and storytelling. Instead, he uses the video as an example of why good communications and marketing about a college needs to be surprising. He says that all good stories need challenges and suspense; otherwise they're not all that interesting.

The best stories, he says, deal with people and tell a story about an institution or cause. He shared another video put out by Surfers Healing—an Autism advocacy group—as an example of this principle put to good use.

"Good stories can change the world," Goodman says.

Please share your questions and comments with Marc Westenburg via email at mwestenburg@case.org or +1 202 478 5570.

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This article is from the October 2012 issue of the Community College Advancement News.

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