PODCAST: Elements of effective storytelling: Empathy, Action and the Message

Our ‘Listen in” Podcast interview guest is Tul Pinkaew, Founder, and Director of Strategy, SideKick Co. (Thailand). Tul, trained as a journalist has worked in 10 countries and is conducting a workshop at IFC Asia on ‘How to tell – and use – a great story to boost your fundraising’.  He is a great believer in the power of stories to connect people and change the world.


Podcast Transcript

RA India: Tul Pinkaew thank you very much for speaking to Resource Alliance India’s Listen In Podcast Series.

Tul Pinkaew: Hi how are you?

RA India: Your session at IFC Asia is about ‘How to tell – and use – a great story to boost your fundraising’ How important then is a well thought through communications strategy to deliver stories as part of any campaign and grow your supporter base?

Tul Pinkaew:  I think for us the key thing is, apart from getting the organisations to understand what they want to say, the key thing for us is how personally I approach campaigning is really trying to understand the audience. For us at Sidekick which is a media consultancy, that I co-founded, we work really hard in terms of trying to understand the audience, whether it’s the general public or decision makers or the mass media and what it takes to get them motivated to take action. And the stories, they play a key role towards translating the campaign message into something that the audience can really relate to, become inspired, so that they can do more and they see this type of evidence every day in our work.

 RA India: And you believe in the power of stories, as you just said, to connect people and change the world and have worked with a number, as we’ve noticed on your website, varied and large civil society organisations. How have you helped them make their stories so much more compelling?

Tul Pinkaew:  So my background is in journalism and you know I used to cover stories related to a lot of grassroots movements both from in rural and urban settings. And what I think that we bring to organisations both profit and non-profit organisations is that art of listening and noticing the details. So you know when we need to push out a certain message within an organisation, what does the audience think about that? Do they really care, do they take notice of this? A great example was when I was working as a director of Change.org in Thailand. We were able to grow an audience base of a few thousand to 1.3 million within 2 years, by identifying really great stories and developing them into campaigns that really resonate with a kind of the bulk of the audience that we were targeting.

RA India:  For those listening to this podcast interview, what then would be the 3-5 key elements of a great narrative?

Tul Pinkaew:  For me, I think the 3 key things would be; the first thing would be empathy, so in storytelling, someone wants something really badly but they are having difficulty getting it.  So you know we try to create this empathy. The audience knows that the main character is trying to achieve something and they empathise with them. So that needs maybe an extra push to help them do that, so the audience can provide that extra support in that, so that is really key for me in terms of storytelling, as kind of creating that empathy. The second one is the action you are asking people to take must be really simple, something that they can really do but can also make a significant difference or significant change in that person’s life or to a campaign. And I think the last one would be, kind of being clear on message. Sometimes I see a lot of human rights stories, you get lost in the story, sometimes you forget that stories also need to serve a purpose. So you know being able to communicate the message clearly through the stories is on one of the key things.

RA India: And finally, what can participants expect from IFC Asia as a larger learning experience.

Tul Pinkaew: For me personally going through this stuff about the workshops, leaders, and everyone that’s attending, I see a lot of collection of people with really amazing knowledge and a thirst for creating impact, driving change. So I think apart from gaining knowledge and enhancing your skills, people will still go back home really motivated and inspired, kind of ready with ideas, ready to get going to start implementing them.

RA India: Tul Pinkaew thank you very much for speaking to The Resource Alliance India’s Listen In Podcast Series

Tul Pinkaew: Thank you. It was great.

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