About storytelling say each conference, but not all were able to ride this wild filly. Especially when it comes to creating materials for a large Corporation where everything is usually boring and pretty much regulate the dealings with all sides. Where to take breathtaking history, if you are working on the severe Urals production or a large company, which, by and large, nothing to report, except about his greatness.
Well-known coach creative writing Daphne gray-Grant offers a few tips for those writers, journalists and copywriters who want to find and skillfully tell stories about their companies (or about an interesting social phenomenon).
By the way, this is not the first text of Daphne translated for our blog — its good advice on how to learn to write faster, many have been able to appreciate and even (we hope so) to apply in practice.
In my work, I encourage all writers — even those who write for big corporations to dilute their work interesting stories. If you are determined to do it, here are a few tips.
- Find the best places to hunt for stories
If you are on duty only communicate with the top management of the company, a lot of stories you can collect. Here are the best, in my opinion, sources:
- contact staff (the people who communicate directly with clients — retailers, operators, call center, etc.)
- consumers of the product and the company’s customers,
- employees of the company retired,
- suppliers and your friendly company.
- Be aware that the craftsmanship of the stories depends not so much on writing skills, how much from the ability to conduct interviews
To become a good storyteller, the first thing you need to learn how to get the history. A good story will tell all about themselves if you just find the right source and asking the right questions. Failed a mission to gather qualitative stories? You won’t have anything to tell.
- Communicate with people, not interview them
People often ask me whether to carry to the interview a leaflet with questions. I say worth it, but with one caveat: do not look at the paper while the interview does not come to an end.
If you communicate with the sources of your questions should be based on what you said in the interview, not on the fact that there you wanted to ask when you haven’t even seen the person. This form of conversation is more natural and more conducive to a friend. Ultimately, with this approach, you will gather exactly the material for a story I was looking for.
During the conversation, don’t be a silent listener or a machine by asking questions. Take feedback on what he tells you.
If you hear something amazing, feel free to exclaim, “Really? How interesting!” and if the person shares with you some difficult experience, Express empathy (“I’m sorry that it happened. How do you manage it?”). Be in conversation with a person, not a machine, and the source will be more disposed to tell the real story.
- Refrain from superlatives
All questions that include the words “best, worst, most, hardest” and stuff like that, for a normal person will be very stressful and at best will make him a long time to think, and at worst to fall into this stupor.
Of course, for the person looking for history, to begin to ask such questions — it is a terrible temptation, because we hope that it will be able to find in the story of man the most interesting. The bad news for your sources such issues seem very complex and intimidating, in fact they have to go through the memory all his life, and somehow to choose the experience that may seem “most-most”.
Asking for specifics is not bad. But not necessarily to ask about the very. Enough to ask the person just to cite one memorable story from my experience.
- Ask me to tell about examples and funny stories
You get nothing until you ask. Do not expect that the interviewee will read your thoughts. Ask the person to give an example, or tell a funny story related to the topic of the interview.
I once worked with a writer, who could not collect the material for his new book on business. I continued to advise her that you wish to include more stories in the fabric of the book, and every time she had failed. But one day, when we both have already given up and was ready to accept my fate, I asked, “What can’t you find any stories, funny or case example?”. She looked up at me with enlightened eyes and said, “Oh, I didn’t know that you need EXAMPLES!”.
The problem was only in a different interpretation of the concept “history”. Don’t let misunderstandings occur in your conversation with the source. Try different ways to explain exactly what you want to hear from a person. At least one of these explanations will help him to understand what you wanted to hear.