Advices

  • The personal story has to be relevant to the overall story. It has to involve emotions – to be close to home in a sense. Think of the two extremes from TV: either laughing or crying.
  • It needs to be first hand experiences. Not a story about someone’s brother –the brother should tell the story himself.
  • Focus on everyday life – what is different in people’s everyday life, what has they to do differently every day because of climate change?
  • Make sure the people tell their story in their own language – it has to be understandable, i.e. if someone is crying and not articulate enough to tell the story properly he/she is not the right person to tell the story. The message and the pronunciation has to be clear. Provide translation, subtitles.
  • Be specific – avoid general terms. But think about the level of detail – people have to be able to identify with everyone’s story. The story from Spain should be relevant to a person in the northern Europe. It has to be representative. People have to be able to recognize the situation/feeling from themselves.
  • Not anecdotal stories, they have to be an example of something bigger. Tell the greater story by telling a small one. Connect the details with the greater story. Provide the audience with the broader problem and give them specific examples – to show the audience that the specific is part of a trend. Provide the broader picture.
  • Make sure ‘the enemy’ is out of arguments: Those who can find people positively affected by climate changes to contrast our ‘negative’ climate changes stories, should not be able to say we just handpicked the stories to fit our message. The testimonial has to back our organizations goals.
  • Make sure the stories are balanced in terms of gender, geographically, age and so on. Don’t just pick the stories that are easy to find.
  • Get the full names of people involved – it gives credibility – make sure dates, full names, where it takes place are correct.
  • Background – make they tell their story in their own environment, where the climate change is and where they’re affected. Sometimes older people with longer experience add credibility.
  • Don’t overdo the story. The story should be moving but not scare people away by being too much.
  • Keep a common message throughout – Climate change is happening in Europe
  • Some can be timeless – avoid mention of Cancun, so they can be used after the event and linked to the Big Ask campaign for example.
  • Document positive projects that tackle climate justice issues

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