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Archive for May 2012

Telling Your Story: 30 Seconds on National TV

 

Telling Your Story: 30 Seconds on National TV

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Telling Your Story: 30 Seconds on National TVIf I offered you 30 seconds to tell your story on national TV would you know what to say?

The idea’s not as far-fetched as it may sound. Companies regularly spend thousands — even millions — of dollars to produce 30-second commercials for television. They’re betting a lot of money they can tell you their story on national TV in 30 seconds.

Despite the time, money and effort involved, many of those commercials miss the mark. Would you be able to hit the mark if you had your chance to do it?

Any time you tell your story you should know the answer to this question: What’s the one thing you want your audience to hear, understand and remember? And you should be able to say it in 15 seconds or less.

That’s true whether you’re preparing a 30-second commercial, a news release or a newsletter to your customers. And it’s true for what you post on Facebook, your blog or your website.

If you can’t say it in 15 seconds, it’s too complicated for the rest of us to remember. And if you try to tell us too many things at once, we’ll probably forget everything you say.

So, you want to tell me your story? Before you do, make sure you know the one thing you want me to remember. And be sure to say it clearly enough that I will.

And once you have your message honed to 15 seconds, you’ll be ready for national TV – with time to spare.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

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Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Telling Your Story: Be Authentic

 

Telling Your Story: Be Authentic

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Telling Your Story: Be AuthenticWant your story to have maximum impact? Tell your story. Be authentic. And make it relevant to the rest of us.

Tell Your Story: Author Stephen King points to J.R.R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy as the inspiration for his famous Dark Tower books. But King says he read Lord of the Rings when he was 19 and didn’t write the first book of the Dark Tower series until several years later. Why? “I wanted to write my own kind of story, and had I started then, I would have written his.” When telling your story, tell your story — not someone else’s dressed up to look like it’s yours. Part of your story is who you are, not just want you say. Include some personality in your story.

Be Authentic: It’s hard for the rest of us to take you seriously if we don’t believe you because we think you’re faking it or because we think you’re insincere. You have something to say? Say it. Don’t hide it in euphemisms and indirect language.

Make it Relevant: Your favorite part of your story is the part about you and how wonderful you are. Our favorite part of your story is the part about what you can do for us or what’s interesting to us for our own reasons.

To quote Stephen King again: “The ‘serious’ novelist is looking for answers and keys to the self; the ‘popular’ novelist is looking for an audience.”

If you’re telling your story as self-therapy, that’s okay. And focusing on your favorite part of the story because you’re telling it for yourself is just fine.

But I believe most of us telling our stories in a business environment are looking for an audience. And that means you need to make your story relevant to the rest of us if you want us to pay attention to what you have to say.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

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Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He helps clients develop content for telling their stories. He helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Telling Your Story: Grab Me. And Hold Me Until the Very End.

 

Telling Your Story: Grab Me. And Hold Me Until the Very End.

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Telling Your Story: Grabe Me. And Hold Me Until the Very End.Grab me. And hold me until the very end.

I’m talking about telling your story, of course. More specifically, I’m talking about two important items that can dramatically increase the chances of your story being heard, understood and remembered: Your lead and your nut paragraph. What’s a nut paragraph? Stick around and I’ll tell you.

Grab Me

Your lead has only one job: Grab our attention long enough to interest us in reading or listening to your story. If your lead does that, pat it on the back for a job well done and give it the rest of the day off.

Your story — and the message it includes — is competing with a lot of others for attention. Meanwhile, the rest of us are fending off most of the messages bombarding us because we’re overwhelmed.

Your lead’s job is to cut through all that clutter to convince us your story’s worth a closer look.

How do you do that? Say something unexpected. Ask a question intriguing enough that we’ll want to stick around to learn the answer. Offer an anecdote. Say something that will grab our attention and make us want to know more.

Telling Your Story: Grab Me. And Hold Me Until the Very EndHold Me Until the Very End

Since your lead has to entice the rest of us into your story, sometimes your message has to wait for its turn to join the fun. That’s where your story crystallizes. In journalism school they call it your nut paragraph.

Once you’ve grabbed us with your lead, your nut paragraph’s job is to give us a reason to stick around long enough to hear what you have to say.

In a movie, it’s the scene where it becomes clear exactly what the story is about.  And it’s the point in a novel where the plot thickens.  Or, in the words of the editors of thenutgraph.com:  “It allows readers to understand why the heck they were invited to the party and why they should seriously consider attending.”

Your lead opens your story. Your nut paragraph often is the second or third paragraph of your story, although your lead and nut paragraph can be one and the same. The second paragraph of this article is my nut paragraph. It’s where I told you why what I had to say was, I hope, worth your time.

There’s no rule about the location of your nut paragraph. But wait too long to add it and the rest of us may not get to it. Leave it out entirely and we may wonder what your story’s about or why we should care.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

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Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He helps clients develop content for telling their stories. He helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

Presentation Tip: Humor Without Jokes

 

Presentation Tip: Humor Without Jokes

By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
www.JerryBrownPR.com

Presentation Tip: Humor Without JokesYou have a presentation coming up. So, you need a joke to open with. Right? Wrong!

You don’t need to open with a joke. In fact, unless you’re one of those rare people who consistently tells jokes well, you should avoid opening with a joke. Or telling them at all during your presentations.

The good news is you don’t need to tell jokes to add humor. One liners, an occasional pun or other off-the-cuff comments that make your audience smile or even chuckle are a great way to add a little humor and personality to presentations. And they’re generally easier to do well than telling a joke — a story that leads up to a punch line.

Just remember: Don’t force it. Whether you’re telling a joke or simply adding funny comments, any humor you use has to be natural and fit both your personality and the topic of your presentation. And the only person who should ever be the butt of your humor is you. Avoid jokes and other comments poking fun at others. That goes triple for any comments that poke fun at or disparage any group of people.

Use humor to help make your point or tell your story. If it’s just an appendage stuck in somewhere to draw a laugh unrelated to the rest of what you’re saying, leave it out.

That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?

————-

Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He helps clients develop content for telling their stories. He helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 | jerry@JerryBrownPR.com.

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