December 5, 2016 Andy Green

Here’s a great storytelling tip to write a better script for your year ahead in 2017


The script for your year ahead – your speech lines and plot are already part-written. Yet is it the script you want? Is it the script that delivers the results you seek?

Luckily, you can do something to change your destiny, to create the outcomes you desire.

If you want to change things however, you first need to identify the script you are currently running. To change the behaviour or the expected outcome, you need to change the underlying script.

I teach about ‘story-listening’ in my Brand Story classes.

I share that there are 5 Prime Plots – by knowing the 5 Prime Plots you can listen and identify the plot at work in any message or communication.

Perhaps the most commonly-used Prime Plot often used by default is the ‘rags-to-riches’ script.

Think of the tale of ‘Cinderella’: a fairy godmother with her magic wand comes to the rescue.

Now that’s a fairy story, yet most businesses and PR/advertising use this Prime Plot. They are either waiting for a third party with their equivalent of a magic wand to transform your situation, or believe they have a magic wand to transform the prospects of others.

You don’t have to search far to find examples of the ‘rags-to-riches’ plot – think about the Brexit or Trump election victories: the side that won offered a ‘rags-to-riches’ Prime Plot.

The problem with the ‘rags-to-riches’ storyline is that life is complex. Although there may be some situations, what we call Zone 1 situations, which are not complex, have a neat beginning/middle/end, and solvable issues, life is getting more complex.

The prospects of a third party to solve your magic wand is getting less likely, believable or trusted. What if your fairy godmother fails to turn up? What if your magic wand ain’t so potent after all?

Think about the simple task of sending a text message: previously you typed in your words and pressed ‘send’. Now, with predictive text designed to make life quicker and easier, you are well advised to double check your text before sending; thanks to predictive text, at best your message may now have an unexpected surreal element where your words have been wrongly anticipated. At worst it can lead to considerable embarrassment. (This weekend my wife went to see a Geordie comedian who I inadvertently texted as ‘Russian Noble’!)

Yes, in your year ahead the next 12 months are already partially scripted, and they’re probably using a fairy story, albeit unconsciously. Next time you hear a message, or are even just listening to your own thoughts, ask yourself if there is a ‘rags-to-riches’ Prime Plot being used.

If you want to change the outcome, you need to change your plot.

For details of my Brand Storytraining sessions, check out the details of How We Do It here.

I hope you enter 2017 with a powerful, magnificent and supportive script!

It’s not a case of good luck, but good storytelling!