Oxford: Narrative Fidelity

If coherent narratives make sense, narrative fidelity represents the quality of the story. Or, does it fit into the hearer’s previous and prior understanding. Fisher (Narrative Paradigm guy) believes there are five ways that storytellers achieve narrative fidelity (‘makesenseness’). To achieve narrative fidelity storytellers, need to:

  • have values embedded in the story

  • connect the story and the values

  • include possible outcomes that would connect to people who want to achieve the outcomes (i.e.—there is a so what)

  • establish some consistency between the values of the story and the values of the hearer

  • build in values that represent high values connected to human experience (i.e. don’t hold back)

Here’s the deal. When I hear a story I want an ideal, something heroic, some inspiring. Stories transport the hearer from their individual, personal and normative experience into something grand. Stories, then, whether you are representing an organization or your personal brand, must connect with the hearer beyond surface level. There has to be some value-laden connection.

As you examine your physical or digital presence, how much effort have you put into your narrative fidelity? Have you considered your values and, just as important, have you considered how you are messaging those values to the public? And then, have you thought about how your values connect and represent those you are trying to serve.

A story should keep us engaged but it should also inspire us to achieve something more, something bigger, better and outside the realm of our normal and everyday existence. We need to consider how the story establishes a belief in something outside of us. Good questions to consider if you are trying to connect with a new audience or re-connect with current clients.

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