September 2016

The essential ingredient in any audio guide solution is the content, putting storytelling firmly at the heart of the visitor experience. In this post we’ll take a closer look at storytelling and how it can enhance your audio guide solution.

A story has a beginning, a middle an end.

This is the beginning.

We’re all storytellers. We can all spin a yarn about our day at work; share memories from when we were growing up; and describe in detail our hopes for the future. Our stories can be engaging, emotive and they allow us to create connections with those listening.

When it comes to the art of storytelling, sometimes we need to filter through some of the details. Unless the specifics of what you had for lunch are intrinsically linked to the point of your day-at-work tale, it’s probably safe to leave it out. Put everything into your story and it becomes cluttered, loses focus and those listening will let their mind wander while absent-mindedly nodding along to at least appear as though they’re listening.

This is the middle.

It’s the filtering of detail we encourage sites to consider when planning the story they’d like to tell. It’s hard, because a lot of the time the teams are so passionate about their story they want everyone to know everything. But what they need to consider is that it’s not about what YOU want to say, it’s about what a VISITOR wants to hear. Different visitors are going to be interested in different things, sure, and a great way to cater for different groups is to create different tour types (an archaeological tour, a ghost tour, a people and society tour), or possibly provide more detailed and specific information in a ‘find out more’ option after the primary tour content has concluded. But to begin take a step back and think, ‘Why do our visitors come here? What is it that they want to know?’. From here you can begin to work through the themes and strands that run throughout the site and that will help you to deliver the compelling story your visitor has come to hear.

This is the end.

Finally, it’s important to remember that it’s not just the storytelling, it’s how you tell it.

Last year my son was learning to read. A recent note from a teaching assistant asked us to encourage him to read with more inflection in his voice and to bring the stories he was reading to life (if you’ve ever read the Biff and Chipper series of ‘easy readers’ you’ll know that this isn’t easy). He now reads out loud with incredible amounts of inflection, character voices and even sound effects. It’s great fun – and interesting – to listen to because of his playing with sound, something we’ll look at in more detail in our next post.