People often ask me why I go to lunch or coffee with so many different people?
Answer: I love coffee and food.
Real Answer: Everybody has a story. And for the most part, people like to talk. And when you get people talking, like cracks in the dry Earth, stories are revealed. As a writer, the more stories I hear, the more dialogue I absorb, the better I feel I can write about any situation. And that's what makes a compelling story; real life situations brought to the forefront by real life characters.
This is the premise behind our Marketing Workshops. Or, as sales calls it: CNA's. (Client Needs Analysis). Every product or service is unique, and every product speaks to a unique individual. And every individual responds to different emotional ties or connections to a different set of situations.
Getting people to talk brings out the grit. And hearing those stories is inspiring. Here's what I do when I'm crafting a message, even a 30-second radio commercial:
I imagine I am driving down Route 66. On the open road, free and ready to absorb the stories, like the parched southwest land is ready to absorb the rain. When crafting a story, take the moment to identify the characters you want to tell your story. Maybe it's you, as the business owner, or maybe it's a funny persona.
Writing for 103.7 KISS FM, 99.1 The Mix, Sports Radio 105.7 The Fan, 94.9 WOLX, Mix 105.1 and Madison's Triple M calls for speaking to many different demographics. That also means businesses need to speak to many different types of consumers. Gathering stories from business owners and crafting a message that presents their "voice" properly is the job of the storyteller. Even if you only have 15, 30 or 60 seconds.
So, when you see me out and about with people, know this... everyone has a story and every story is a piece to the greater puzzle. It's just a matter of listening to those stories and figuring out how to tell them properly and work them into the advertisement.
Listening is a great skill to master. The next time you are in a meeting, look around, listen, and watch. Who is talking? Who is listening?
Some people have more stories, or experiences, to share. And it is those people that I gravitate towards. How else could I possibly visit other countries without traveling, or taste new foods without eating, or appreciate eclectic music from a different set of ears without hearing, or imagine different dreams without dreaming?
There's only so much one person can actually do... but so much one can learn from others.
I've traveled to France, Germany, Japan, Egypt, Sudan, Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean Islands. But recently I have "been" to London, Iceland, Thailand and even Chicago... through the eyes, and great stories, of others.
In the words of "Frankie Goes To Hollywood": "The World is my Oyster".
And with that, I circle back to food.
Stories are out there. Go find them over a glass of wine and deliciously seasoned, salty Pork Belly.
Become a story collector.
It will make you a better storyteller.