Why Your Best Storyteller Might Not Be You
17 December 2013 at 10:09 am
Sometimes the most authentic telling of an organisation’s mission is best done by the people it serves, according to the Westpac Banking Group.
You’re heading up an organisation with hundreds of members, you’re a confident public speaker, and you love your work. You know your numbers and you’ve got an amazing PowerPoint presentation. But are you always the best person to deliver your organisation’s story to potential supporters?
|Nick Taylor in action for the Wollongong Rollerhawks. © Rev William A Stewart|
Nick Taylor was 18 years old and dreaming big. Tall, athletic, and ambitious, he envisioned himself representing his native South Africa in basketball; his hopes ballooned by his selection as captain of the U19 Natal team. A sizzling season on court carried his team into the final of the U19 South African National Championships.
The hours and hours, months and months of pounding up and down the court were about to open the doorway to the dream. In Johannesburg on the day before the final, with visions of victory pulsing through his head, Nick was involved in a serious car accident. It left him in hospital with paraplegia at the age of 18. Shattered bones and shattered dreams. Wheelchair bound.
But Nick’s pursuit of basketball greatness didn’t end there.
After settling in Australia, Nick connected with Wheelchair Sports NSW, an organisation providing a range of innovative sporting programs and support to people with a disability. Nick has journeyed from being a member to a grant recipient to an Australian paralympian and now, also a spokesperson.
What Makes Nick a Great Advocate
Audiences love to listen to him speak, says Jim O’Brien, CEO of Wheelchair Sports NSW. “He tells a very moving and uplifting story; he talks about acceptance, true ability, camaraderie, self-esteem…and everyone can relate to that.”
Nick is proud to represent the work of his association to supporters and potential donors, even though he doesn’t consider himself a polished public speaker.
“I can speak authentically about something that happened to me and the impact that my association has made in my life – professionally, financially, socially, and emotionally. More than telling people what Wheelchair Sports NSW can offer, I show them.”
Nick’s life experiences are also shared with his colleagues at Westpac.
As a Senior Business Analyst in Westpac’s Digital Team, he has spoken within the organisation about high performance in a team environment.
“Everyone can relate to wanting to succeed at something, so at Westpac, my experience is drawn upon as an example of achievement over adversity, and being a part of something greater than yourself.”
Why Storytelling is Important for Your Organisation
At any age, people love to hear a story. Stories are part of ancient oral traditions; an organic way human beings assemble information to make it meaningful. A story, well-told, transports you to another place, allows you to feel empathy for another’s experience, and ignites your imagination.
And a good story sticks. Hearing someone’s heartfelt story or meeting them in person embeds their experience in yours; it changes you.
To the right audience, at the right time, Nick is the perfect storyteller for his sports association. He is the literal embodiment of why Wheelchair Sports NSW exists – to enrich lives through sport.
By facilitating his aspirations, supporting his commitment, and providing him opportunities, Nick’s community organisation is now a part of his story to tell and supporters want to hear it.
Has your organisation engaged its storytellers?