• The Effective Chamber Story Outline Tool

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    Every chamber story is different so we can’t write it for you, but this template/chamber story worksheet will help you put together the pieces that are critical to your chamber storytelling.


    1.      What’s Your Theme?

    Check your strategic plan. What’s the overall thing you’re working on or want to be known for?

    2.      Think of examples that support this theme

    What work have you done to support your theme? What is the chamber involved in? Who are the people it impacts? For instance, if workforce development is a major goal and your theme is “helping to create more jobs by building a stronger business community,” strong stories will come from businesses you’ve helped and the people who are finding valued jobs.

    3.       Isolate how you are helping

    The chamber’s story is not “We are the chamber. We are awesome because we get people jobs.” That’s not a story. That’s bragging. A more effective way to tell the chamber’s story of being a champion for workforce development is by sharing why what you do matters and who it is helping. List below specific ways you helped and who was assisted.

    4.      Contact those you’re helping and talk about their story

    Take the list of those you’ve helped and ask each person if you can share their experiences. Explain what’s in it for them and how they’ll be assisting the community by sharing. Interview them using the following prompts (put them in your own words and tailor them to your theme):
    • Tell me how things were for you before _________ <insert the precipitating factor or program that solved their problem or struggle>. What did they believe and what was life like at that time?
    • What were you struggling with? <Every story needs a good challenge.>
    • How did you overcome __________? Find out what made a difference. What was their turning point? In the workforce development example, ask them how your program enhanced their opportunities.
    • What are you working on now? Or what are you most excited about in the future? This helps wrap up the story in a feel-good way and creates an opportunity for the chamber to talk about the future.

    5.      Select a medium (or multiple ones) for your story

    Decide how you will tell the story. What format(s) will you use:
    • Video
    • Blog
    • V-log
    • Podcast
    • Newsletter article
    • Website copy
    • Email
    • Other


    6.      Create a story with a great hook

    No matter what medium you select, you need a great hook. Good hooks can begin with conflict, contrast, or contradiction.
    A conflict hook jumps right into the meat of the problem, painting a portrait of the struggle and creating tension. Using a conflict people can identify with is powerful but don’t forget to talk about the hero/heroine so your audience connects to their struggle immediately. A tightrope without a tightrope walker is not an interesting story.
    A contrast hook paints a picture using opposites, like “the beautiful town on the bay with the worst job outlook in the state.” Or like Dickens’ beginning in the Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times…”
    A contradiction hook grabs attention by going against expectations. “No one could’ve predicted that Stacy, voted ‘most likely to succeed’ less than a decade ago was living on food stamps.”
    Use one of these techniques and people will be compelled to listen (or read) on.  

    7.      Show how you helped

    You are not the hero of the chamber’s story. Your members are. You are the wise guru who revealed to them that they had what it took to realize their dreams all along. You simply gave them the tools and connections to do so.
    What connections did you help create or how did the chamber serve as a gracious mentor?

    8.      Satisfy your audience with a good ending

    Every good business story needs a satisfying ending with a look to the future.
    What do you want people to focus on? What are you working on that ties into your member’s needs?
    Remember, the chamber story is not a few sentences long or just a paragraph on your website. It’s something you are dedicated and committed to. You will tell it in many ways, and it should influence every part of your marketing and communication.
    Christina Metcalf