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Storytelling as strategy

It’s easy to get caught up in all the business language involved in understanding and discussing the communications process. Don't get me wrong, new tools and a better understanding of markets has meant that things certainly have evolved in how we think and work in the communications industry.

But at the core or every great communications program there is a simple, and hopefully life changing, story.

That’s the piece that sometimes can get lost. Ken Burns, the famous documentarian, (who even has a special effect named after him – the Ken Burns Effect), certainly knows something about telling viscerally compelling stories. In a recent interview, he said, “we coalesce around stories that seem transcendant.” Transcendant - what a powerful word and one that probably doesn’t get used enough.

It’s those stories that transcend the now and inspire us to think of the bigger things that people connect with.

Delivering Events With Impact

I go to a lot of events. It’s part of my job and to be honest, I love doing it.

One of the things I’ve been noticing about events that really stand out, is that they feel like they are actually for and about me. Someone has taken the time to create an experience from the first moment I step into the room to the moment I leave for the evening.

This could be a simple as the greeting I get, to how people handle requests, to how introductions are made. Sometimes the simplest things are the personal touches that make me feel that I'm part of something special.

Politics and Building partnerships

With the election year in full swing, a lot of people are focused on the presidential election. Given the stakes and the media budgets on both sides, that’s not surprising.

But in the midst of it all, it is worth stepping back to remind ourselves how much is happening where there are few cameras, if any, and even fewer late night jam sessions with Hollywood’s top talent taking the stage.

These meetings of the minds between senators and representatives, both at the state and federal level, form one part of our national communications backbone (the other parts include cities, counties, neighborhoods and community groups) that will eventually decide how things get done.

What that means is that politics is actually less about idealized statements, but about the extent to which all participating parties are willing to compromise, to listen and understand what the real needs are – and that it can still be fair even if you don’t get exactly what you want.

Understanding the delicate give-and-take nature of true partnerships would probably give us a healthier respect for the work our government officials do. For companies and organizations, it is a good note to take as well since building partnerships is often so critical when it comes to long-term success.

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