I recently stumbled upon a fantastic interview of Ira Glass, host of Public Radio’s This American Life. Divided into four 5 minutes segments, each episode provides invaluable insights into the art of storytelling.
Compelling stories told in person, through social media or through photographs, podcasts and videos, can be one of the most powerful marketing and sales tools available – especially for people who want to earn a living doing what they love. Take the excitement and passion we have for our businesses and the way we light up when we speak of our work then add in a well-crafted story and you’ve got a combination that’s tough to beat.
Glass identifies the key building blocks to a good story: the anecdote, which acts as the bait that hooks your listener; and the “moment of reflection” where it becomes clear why the listener should care. He stresses the importance of finding and using your own voice and explains how good stories resemble good conversations – they can’t be just about you and they can’t be just about the other person, they have to be about both.
Along the way, Glass provides powerful messages for anyone earning a living doing what they love. His observations about professional practice – how you can create luck by simply being out and about so much that you’re bound to eventually be in the right place at the right time; the value of walking away when you know story (the deal, the job, the client) just isn’t going to work out and the effort it takes to find a good story (or deal or job or client) – have application far beyond the world of producing great radio content.
As I refine my elevator speech, start developing promotional videos and expand my social media presence, I know the information Glass outlines in these videos will help me find the right story for my listeners and the right listeners for my story.