The explosion of social media now makes good storytelling skills required for everyone. Good storytelling personally and professionally benefits everyone.
We’re all storytellers at one time or another. Social media is here to stay and those late to the game will eventually come in. We’ll start with good storytelling and why it’s important. Later, we’ll address good written storytelling skills needed along with good storytelling using tools like pictures, videos, and reference to enhance the story we’re trying to tell.
Why do we use social media?
Start with the basics. We communicate to share, entertain and get attention. It’s no different than people who are paid to communicate for a living.
But, we compete against them for time and attention.
Focus on storytelling, not how to grow an audience
Great storytelling grows audience and was proven successful before the digital age. How to grow an audience is a marketing tool for so-called teachers wanting to make a fast buck.
Address why you use social media
Knowing why you use social media is a big help. Maybe you just to connect with friends, family and colleagues. Maybe you might do it to share something that will help them or entertain them. Admit it – we use social media to get attention. Getting attention is from social media is important to me. I live in Las Vegas, love it but have few friends here. Online I communicate to get attention from people far away to maintain some semblance of relationship with people, otherwise I’d go crazy.
I’ve made a lot of new and good friends through social media without having met them. And that’s ok. The written word in social media should be a powerful magnet.
As a former newspaper, radio and television journalist, I do it to inform, educate and entertain, in that order. I’m not that great an entertainer. I’m funny at times, but not consistently. Entertainment follows informing and educating, which I did for years as a reporter. I’d like to think I was a decent storyteller as a reporter. I’ve got a few industry awards to support it. But now on social media, I try to let people know more than they might know. Recently, my attention has been focused on personal health. This summer, I’ve undergone more medical procedures than I have in the past 30 years combined. 2 cataract surgeries have gotten me back in the online game because for a while, I couldn’t read anything. It was frustrating and I shut down. No episodes for 3 months. But now that I can see clearly again, my attitude and enthusiasm are much better. And I used social media to tell anyone what I experienced and what they might expect. I saw my mother pretty much go blind with macular degeneration. Knowing that and what was happening to me scared me. I hope I scared some people with my stories to push them to address their eye health.
Everyone needs to connect with others. And the best way to do it is to tell stories in a great way that will get others to pay attention, entertain, and share.
In closing, address order of importance
We communicate to share, entertain, and get attention. Our audience – our friends, our families, colleagues, and even those who don’t know us – they consume communication by first getting attention from the message, being entertained by the message, and then sharing that message, if they feel it’s worth it.
In summary, the order of importance in communication is reversed for the reader, listener or viewer than it is for us personally.
If you can master that, you’re on your way to being a great storyteller because then you will know what the audience wants to see and hear. Master that and you’ve created a circle. Tell great stories, and that circle will grow. Then ask yourself what your communication priorities are.
Mine are inform, educate and entertain. What’s yours? There’s no book or manual – because everyone is different. But great storytelling tips can be used by everyone, no matter what their priorities are for communication. That’s why I’m going to focus on great ways you can tell better stories instead of preaching how to grow an audience. I’ll get you to the results by explaining the whys.
I know this. Because I’ve been a better-than-average storyteller, I have more friends and connections that I know I would if I wasn’t.
Our episodes are published each Saturday. Next week, we’ll start by good use of Facebook, the most popular social media platform in the world.
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This week, we surpassed 20,000 listeners, and that’s with no new episodes during the summer getting two cataract surgeries and recovery. It’s been a godsend, and now I’m excited again about podcasting and storytelling.
Thank you for reading and listening.
Scott Simon, Simon Says Storytelling