I like this photo. It reminds me that it isn’t just an inanimate screen that I’m telling my stories to, but real flesh and blood people who want to be moved by a story.
It came to mind when somebody recently said: “In fact when you’re writing for companies so that their stuff gets sold, you can’t still be serious that you’re a storyteller. You’re nothing more than a story seller.” I dare to disagree with this friend.
The thing is: whatever you do, you can’t fool the audience. Like flies to honey, people are always eager to hear what you have to tell. But, if expectations aren’t met or if the story isn’t genuine – if they can’t connect – it’s just a matter of time till you lose your audience.
Yes, stories might move people to buy something, but only if the story means something to them. Only if the story is told in such a way that it brings about a change that will move people to act.
Good storytellers, don’t need to sell anything. The effect of the story does it for them.
Vocabulary is one of the key drivers for keeping people tuned in to what you’re trying to communicate. But, vocabulary can also be one of the major pitfalls of communication. Because, when a word doesn’t mean anything, when it’s a random placeholder, the easiest thing to do is fail to understand it, forever. And then there’s no recovery. Then you’ve lost your audience.
What is your vocabulary?
Of course, every industry has it’s own particular jargon. It’s own vocabulary. Some of it serves a purpose, a whole lot of it is probably just of the ‘placeholder’ type. You might like to think it helps get your information across. Well think again! It’s probably doing just the opposite and fuzzing things up.
Check and double check
Of course the biggest danger lies in the fact that you get so used to hearing your own vocabulary that it becomes really difficult to sift out the stuff that weakens your message instead of strengthening it. Check what you’ve written and keep asking yourself the question: do people know what you’re talking about? Is your vocabulary a strong or a weak one? Are people tuning in to your story? Are your words making the difference?