Storytelling Tip: Treat Us Like We’re Six Years Old
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Tips for Telling Your Story on the Experience Pros Radio Show
Listen to the Radio Version
By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel
I’m not suggesting you talk down to your audience. Kids are smart. And they want all of your attention, not some of it, when they’re talking with you.
So, here’s what I mean when I say talk to us like we’re six years old:
- Give us your full attention. Have you ever tried talking to a six-year-old while trying to do something else? Forget it. It’s no different with your audience. If you’re multitasking while talking to me in person or even on the phone, I’m going to pick up on that at some level. And I won’t like it. You want my full attention for your story? Then give me your full attention while telling it.
- Be clear. You have to be clear when talking to a six-year-old. Start throwing in all that extra “stuff” we tend to include when telling our stories and a six-year-old will tune you out. You know what? So do the rest of us. Be clear. And stick to your point. Save the “stuff” for another time. Or lose it altogether.
- Use concrete examples. Six-year-olds typically aren’t interested in abstract ideas. They want concrete examples. Concrete examples are easier to understand and remember than abstract ideas. Your story may involve talking about ideas. But include examples to help the rest of us understand and remember what you’re saying.
- Be honest. Kids know when you’re not being straight with them. They’ll either call you on it or tune you out. And they’ll be less likely to believe you next time. Your audience isn’t any different. We may not call you on it. Adults are less likely to do that than kids. But we will tune you out and learn not to trust you.
- Be prepared for questions. Kids ask a lot of questions. Your audience will have questions, too. Welcome the questions. And give us honest answers.
Treat us like we’re six years old when telling your story. Are you up to the challenge of doing that?
That’s my two cents’ worth. What’s yours?
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.
Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros radio show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at www.560thesource.com on the Internet.