The Empathy Telescope – Why KONY 2012 was the most viral campaign of all time.

I had an opportunity to present to a group of non-profit leaders yesterday at the Dulles Chamber of Commerce, Non-Profit Seminar.

One of the things we talked about is the “Empathy Telescope.” The concept which states that we can put ourselves in the shoes of one, we can not put ourselves in the shoes of many.

Watch and learn how Invisible Children leveraged this concept to their advantage and how it helped them create what the New York Times called the most succesful viral vido of all time (KONY 2012).

One of the common questions I receive from people, is that they are concerned that a story does not effectively articulate everything they do.  They tell me that their story may only highlight a portion of the work they do and they feel like they are doing the listener and their organization a disservice by leaving some things out.

TRUTH – When we tell stories, we may miss some of the information or particulars of what we do, but the alternative is much worse. If we try to explain everything we do to the people we meet…they likely won’t remember us at all.

People are suffering from Infobesity and if we lead with nothing but information…the likelihood of them retaining anything is slim. Using the empathy telescope and telling a signature story is the easiest way to get your priority project firmly through someones mental door so that they get it, remember you and want to work with you.

If you work with an organization that is having a positive impact in the lives of others, there is no excuse for not having a signature story.


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