I'm teaching a long copy class this quarter. This is the second in a series of exercises intended for that class. I invite blog readers to share their assignment, or let me know if you found this assignment helpful or interesting.
Awhile back, Greg turned me onto a podcast called The Moth. In a nutshell, it's folks in NYC getting up on a stage and telling stories. They have no notes. They just tell them, as if they were sitting around with friends in a bar. Some are hilarious, some poignant, some terribly sad. But the thing that strikes me whenever I listen to these podcasts, is the amazing power of story to pull you in.
Whatever brand you work on, whatever medium you're working in, the two greatest ways to engage people's minds are to teach them something or tell them a story. Listen to a few of these Moth podcasts. Then get up and tell your own. Record it if you can, so you can listen to it later. It can be embarrassing to hear your own voice. Even when I'm alone, I feel uncomfortable listening to my own recorded voice. But listen anyway. There will be many times in presentations when you'll have to tell a story. Get used to it. Listen to what about your story-telling works. Do you have any quirks? Any nervous words that you throw in ("Um..." "Actually..." "Like")? Work on it. Telling a story isn't easy. Doing it in front of a client isn't any easier.