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How to harness the power of Order & Chaos in your stories

Order & Chaos is a card in the Storyteller Tactics card deck. This tactic introduces the concepts of order, chaos and a hero – that’s you!

Where to start with an Order & Chaos story

The known world – often the starting point for your story – is the current way of doing things. This could be a client, a system, a process. Something that you understand the benefits and shortcomings of.

The unknown world around you – competitors, pandemics etc – is the chaos. Your story may start here, depending on the circumstances – your audience, for example, and your hero’s end goal.

Order & Chaos – but you can’t have both!

At some point in the story, order must be disrupted by chaos. Otherwise, it’s not much of a story! It’s just business as usual. Then, your hero must do one of two things:

  • survive chaos and impose order, or
  • inject chaos to revive something that’s constrained by too much order.

So you’re restoring balance; whether that’s by introducing order or chaos depends on your situation. Let’s take a look at an example.

Using Order & Chaos to sell marketing strategies

In a recent tutorial available to Pip Decks community members, the Storyteller Tactics author Steve Rawling talked through a few examples from participants. This is how he began to build out the Order & Chaos story of a marketer who creates marketing strategies for 3D artists.

Elements of the story

  • The known world: an artist’s current approach to marketing. Often, a bit of posting on LinkedIn – not exactly groundbreaking, but hey, it’s something!
  • The unknown world: a new strategy, which could bring all kinds of results – some good, some bad. Who knows which way it’ll go?
  • The moment when chaos disrupts order: in this case it could be a pandemic, a new competitor or the loss of a major client. All of a sudden, the scattergun approach to LinkedIn seems a bit risky.

The pivotal moment

So how do you work out whether to restore order, or inject chaos? Well in this example, Steve thinks either could work!

  • Restore order: make the artist the hero of the story. Equipped with a new strategy and some inside knowledge, they are ready to implement a system that will help them reach out and connect with more potential clients!
  • Inject chaos: LinkedIn is safe, it’s reliable… but it’s boring. With the help of an expert marketer, you can take advantage of new platforms and create some really ‘out there’ campaigns that are sure to get you noticed.

The beauty of using this story in this scenario is that you can flip the script depending on the client. Some might be more risk averse, while others want to step outside of their comfort zone. Some might be happy to outsource to a hero, while others want to be their own hero! You’ve got options here.

Connecting people to their Order & Chaos story

The order and chaos scenarios create the ‘big picture’, but that’s not quite enough on its own. As you’ll see in the story above, you have to zoom in and create a small picture within it. In this case, that’s a focus on the client. In some cases, the same story might need to zoom in on different people depending on who’s hearing it.

For example, a solution aimed at teachers might want to focus on students when you’re trying to get teachers on board, but if you’re trying to get the school principal to agree to it then you’ll want to show them how it will impact teachers… or their budget.

This creates something that people can connect to. And connection is vital if you want people to remember, care about and act upon your story.

Take things to the next level with the Pip Decks community

When you buy any deck from Pip Decks – like Workshop Tactics or Storyteller Tactics – you get access to the lovely community of super helpful professionals (like yourself – and Steve, author of Storyteller Tactics) who share their experiences and answer questions. And of course, you’ll get into the Vault, which contains (among other things) Miro templates for all of the cards.

You’ll also get links to watch video recordings of all our fantastic community events, including a Chaos & Order tutorial with Steve. There’s tonnes more value in his talk that’s not covered here, including a live demo of Chaos & Order with four worked examples.

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