Monday, June 6, 2011

The latest common denominator of my successful clients

I have this big whiteboard in my office with names of clients, where they work, and where they want to go. I was updating it yesterday as a few people have gotten jobs while new clients have arrived.

While I have always told you guys that everyone's job hunting situation is different, I did notice that the last three clients who got good jobs had something in common. And two current clients who are going on major interviews have the same trait.

They're storytellers.

While all reporters tell stories, not all reporters are storytellers.

Most people fall under the "basic reporter" heading. They get the who, what, when, where, why and how; get both sides of the story; and put a decent package together. That's fine and many people have had great careers doing just that.

But a storyteller takes the journalism basics and turns the story into a miniature movie. The storyteller has the ability to focus on one aspect of a story, to draw the viewer in, and to weave the facts into the piece in such a way that the viewer forgets for a moment that he is watching a newscast. It can be serious, it can be hopeful, but it is a work of art.

The bottom line is this: storytellers find one focal point in a story and run with it. They "personalize" a story. They find that one person, get inside that person's head, and tell the story from that point of view... not the reporter's point of view.

Reporters are trained observers, but when you can describe what you're seeing through the eyes of another person, you've become a storyteller. It's no different than an author creating fictional characters and telling the story through their eyes.

Try walking in different shoes than your own, and you find you might have this gift. And if you do, run with it.

It's very marketable these days.


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