Project Storytelling

Project Storytelling

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Internet Retailer:
“Up to 85% of people are more likely to buy a product if they first saw an explainer video.

Project Storytelling

Problem – Ineffective Project Storytelling

Project communications often include boring presentations, confusing jargon-laden documents, unproductive meetings and excessive email traffic. Moreover, non-technical stakeholders are often key decision makers who cannot understand the purpose of a poorly communicated technical project. This can prevent project funding or stall a project’s progress.

Project Storytelling

Ideal State

The ideal state is effective project storytelling that tailors pivotal messages to your target audience. The most critical communiques must be; simple to understand, engaging, informative, concise, and most importantly they must be persuasive.

Project Storytelling

Root Cause for Ineffective Project Storytelling

Decision makers and key project stakeholders are usually very busy people and are often non-technical. In an age of information overload, you must compete for their short attention span to make, or support, critical decisions for your project. The potential to “waste their time”, is compounded by the inability of many project team members to communicate complex issues in a clear and concise manner. You have a very short amount of time to capture the attention of your audience, make your point to technical and non-technical stakeholders then close the deal.


Project StorytellingA movie is a communication method just like a meeting or presentation. Yet if you poll your friends, the vast majority would probably say they prefer going to a movie than a business meeting or presentation. To better understand this, we can review key findings from research studies designed to determine scientific reasons why storytelling is an effective method of communication.

According to Paul Furiga, president and CEO of WordWrite Communications, “good storytelling literally causes changes in the brain activity of the audience”. In addition, according to Harrison Monarth, storytelling evokes a strong neurological response. Other research indicates that a visually appealing character in a story causes the brain to release oxytocin. This is the feel-good chemical that promotes connection and empathy. Also, other neurological research indicates that a happy ending to a story ignites the brain’s reward center, the limbic system, which releases dopamine. This makes us feel more hopeful and optimistic.

Moreover, Paul Zak conducted a study to measure the impact of storytelling on audience behavior. Project StorytellingStudy participants were asked to donate money to a stranger after watching an emotionally charged movie about a father and son. This experiment evoked both oxytocin and the stress hormone cortisol, which helps the audience to focus. The participants with higher levels of oxytocin were much more likely to give money to someone they’d never met. This is one example of the substantial library of scientific research that says storytelling, and in our case project storytelling, can have a major influence on stakeholder decision making.

Solution for Ineffective Project Storytelling

Project Storytelling
One way to leverage project storytelling is to create a low cost explainer video about your project. The target length should be about 90 seconds. You should use appealing characters who will promote connection and empathy with your audience. You should identify the main beneficiary of the project then represent that role as the main character in the video. This may be a customer, distributor, partner, supplier, employee or other project stakeholder. Start the explainer video in a way that captures the audience’s attention in the first 10 seconds. Then quickly define the problem solved by your project from the viewpoint of the main character. Personalize one or two main characters by giving each a name. This will help evoke empathy. Explain the root cause of the problem addressed by your project and your solution approach. List the key features of your solution and the associated benefits. Explain future offerings and have a happy ending for the main character, preferably enjoying the benefits delivered by your project. This will make your target audience hopeful and optimistic. Also, you should always end an explainer video with a call to action.

Explainer Video Example 1

Explainer Video Example 2

Project storytelling is a very effective option for critical project communications. You can create a low cost explainer video at the outset of a project to help secure funding. You can also create one at the end of a project to help celebrate successful project completion. These are critical decision points during a project’s life cycle when non technical stakeholders and those with a peripheral interest can be converted from confused detractors into enthusiastic supporters.

Project Storytelling

Your Feedback

Enter your comments below so we can update this post and provide better solutions for the community. Also, if you have created any project management tools or templates that you would like to contribute for communal use then please send each one, with a brief description, to

Business Opportunity for Project Storytelling

There is an opportunity for a process to create low cost explainer videos for project storytelling. Let us know if you would like to collaborate as a part of our community to transform this opportunity into an easy-to-use solution that will dramatically improve project communications.

Alternatively, if your company would like to trial the process to create an explainer video for project communications then please “Contact Us“.

Simple Life Lesson for Storytelling

Project Storytelling

Project storytelling is a very effective way to communicate an important project message. The next time you are creating a presentation comprised of many slides, each burdened with way too much text, consider project storytelling instead. If an explainer video is not a feasible option for you, then create a presentation comprised of a sequence of graphics, or photos, rather than a sequence of text-filled slides. Organize the infographics into a logical sequence that will move your audience from their current state of understanding to your preferred future state of action. At each step in your presentation’s “storyboard”, find or create a picture that conveys the message better than text. Talk through the infographical elements in each picture and minimize, or eliminate, the text on each page. Figure out an effective segway to transition between each infographic in your presentation’s storyboard. Ensure you have a strong start that captures the audience’s attention in the first 10 seconds, use the sequence of infographics to make your point, then end on a happy note with a clear call to action. Supplement your graphical presentation with a “stand alone”, informative hand out that includes your explanatory text. Alternatively, create an engaging explainer video that guides your audience from their current state of thinking to your preferred future state of action.

Project Storytelling

Innovation Incubator

  • Are you tired of using the same old Project Management tools and techniques and getting the same unacceptable results?
  • Have you developed a project management tool or technique that has improved the performance of your projects?
  • Is your organization interested in trialing innovative project management tools and techniques?

Contact us to list a project management tool that you have developed or to trial of any of the following innovations:

6SigmaPM – A proactive project health check. It measures your project’s vital signs then recommends corrective actions to prevent a negative trend becoming an actual problem. The benefit is predictable project performance.

JoinMyOrder – A group purchasing system. You submit a purchase order, other like minded customers also make a commitment to buy, then suppliers compete for the high volume purchase order in a reverse auction. You receive the price, terms and conditions normally available only to much larger organizations.

Crowd Bootstrap – A startup ecosystem in an App that offers innovation as a service. You sponsor a startup accelerator and determine its industry focus. The accelerator invests business services from independent contractors into selected startups to help accelerate their progress. You get access to the startup’s team, knowledge, products and services. You receive the benefits of an accelerator without the usual costs. It is “innovation-as-a-service” in an App.

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