Introduction + Conflict + Climax + Resolution = Story

It’s with this simple formula, known as the story arc, that storytellers across centuries have attracted, captivated, and motivated audiences.

In doing so, they’re are able to connect audiences to their story’s characters, navigating them together from conflict to resolution – leaving everyone changed.

Take Dr. Seuss’s classic Green Eggs and Ham, for example.

The Story Arc

StoryArcJPG.001

Introduction: Characters and setting are introduced.

In the Dr. Seuss classic, Green Eggs and Ham, we’re introduced to a simple, unadventurous protagonist that’s afraid to try something new.

Conflict: A problem is presented.

Sam-I-Am interrupts the story’s protagonist by offering him something he’s never tried before, urging him to try it, hinting that he will be happier if only he were a bit more adventurous.

Climax: The peak of engagement.

We arrive at the story’s climax when Sam-I-Am has convinced the narrator to take a bite of the green eggs and ham.

Resolution:  The character enters a new state of being.

After eating the green eggs and ham, the narrator is happier, more adventurous and open to new things.

Drive Admissions Using Story

I know what you’re thinking..

“How does this story translate to increasing admissions for my school?”

It’s pretty simple, really. A good story engages an audience to the point that they become invested in the journey, from conflict through resolution.

And you have a story:

  • Your audience is the school’s prospective families.
  • Your characters are your students, families and teachers.
  • Your conflict is the decision families are faced with when looking for a new school for their children.
  • Your resolution is the experience and learning environment you can provide students and their families.

Perhaps your audience is looking for smaller class sizes or specialized learning. Maybe their priority is single gender education or a faith based environment.  Whatever the reason prospective families begin their search for a new school, their objective is to OVERCOME a CONFLICT they’re facing in their current state.

It’s your role to guide them to a resolution.

While stats and facts are important to share, quantitative data alone won’t motivate change.  It’s your success stories, the stories of your students, families, and alumni that will engage new families and prove that your school can offer them a new and better experience – a better state of being.

The Lexington School’s Success Story

Meet George, a four-year-old who’s always loved school. But, as reading instruction began at his preschool, it became apparent that something was wrong, that he wasn’t learning the same way as his peers. His parents were challenged to find the best school and learning environment for their son.  Through research and discussion, George’s family overcame conflict, and reached the climax of their story – deciding upon the school environment that best fit their needs.

Visit The Lexington School’s website to hear more about George’s story, and discover how the school helped George and his family find a successful resolution to their story.

Find YOUR School’s Success Story

What are your school’s stories?

Ask your families what drew them to you. What conflict were they facing when they made the decision to apply? Follow up with them to understand their resolution – their new state of being now that they’ve become a member of your school’s family.

Share these stories. Memorize them. Tell them. Then, retell them. Use your website, social media, email and other channels to draw people in with the real life stories of how your school has helped families overcome conflict with resolutions that best serve the needs of your students and their families.

The results will astound you.

Join us on a journey toward better school management and register for one of our best practice webinars!

 

photo cred – Flickr: Creative Commons

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from Clemson University, Kelley Jarrett began her career as an advertising and branding strategic account manager in Atlanta, where she helped both for-profit and nonprofit organizations realize their branding goals through web strategy, marketing and advertising. In 2003, Kelley joined Blackbaud and now is the market manager for Blackbaud’s new creative design agency,Guide Creative where she uses her passions for bringing creative ideas and online strategy to nonprofits together.  She speaks annually at Blackbaud’s Conference for Nonprofits as well as various nonprofit trade conferences on the topics of web strategy and design.  Kelley lives downtown Charleston, SC, is married to an architect, has two little girls and enjoys urban gardening, chicken farming, living close (enough) to the beach, and live music.

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