a blog from Caroline King, Group Head of Brand & Communications, Torus
Communicating is all about telling a story.
In fact the ‘new’ way of describing the key skills of the discerning communicator these days seems to be about story telling. This irritates me a tad as surely there is no other definition?!
As a child I ate books for breakfast. As an only child with a scary imagination and endless curiously I would immerse myself in books and wile away many a day imagining I was exploring The Secret Garden or going on adventures as part of the Secret Seven (the Famous Five was far too mainstream!). I also fantasised daily about being sent to Mallory Towers on the strength of being able to own a tuck box and indoor shoes! Fast forward over 30 years I am now a story teller to my son and spend most evenings imagining I am George with his marvellous medicine or Charlie Bucket searching for the elusive golden ticket.
Books are stories and communicating is about telling a story, often somebody else’s. In housing communications that might be a story about why moving into that shared ownership home changed the life of Jake and Katie? How getting online helped Jean to save time, money or keep in touch with friends. I could go on. If you work in Comms then every day brings its Jakes, Katie’s, Jean’s and many more characters that you need to bring to life, create a story for and share it with your audience. Without a story to capture their imagination then it can be hard to get across your message. Just think about the adverts you watch on TV every night? They are all stories and some will chime with you and others make you reach for the remote control.
So what does all of this have to do with CommsHero? Well my own personal involvement with CommsHero started in early 2014 when I was asked to Chair the first ever event. In fact as soon as the seed of hero was sown I was asked for my honest opinion in whether it would fly or fail. Anybody who knows me will tell you that the opportunity to create something fresh and different is always my preferred course of action. Throw in a cape and you have yourself a deal!
I was terrified about chairing the first event and had no idea how to pitch my session. The approach I opted for was incredibly simple. Tell one short chapter of my story. I did that and the overriding feedback I received was that my passion for Comms and my job shone through. I am an expressive person, never short of something to say and YES I am unashamedly in love with my job so I wasn’t surprised by that feedback although it was still affirming and flattering to hear.
Having been part of the entire Hero journey to date I can honestly say that I’ve never seen such a happy bunch of delegates at the beginning, middle and end of an event. I have snoozed my way through many an event, dreaming up ways to escape early and head back home!
CommsHero even has a loyal Twitter following who attend in a virtual way and get stuck in, not just at events, but all year round! Lets be realitistic, there are also dissenters. Hero is not for everyone but I want to personally urge you to accept the challenge to be a hero for the day, meet some amazing people, listen to speakers who do the same job as you and I and get stuck into some of the creative challenges we have lined up on the day.
On May 13th head to Manchester and instead of telling other people’s stories, take the first step to writing a chapter of your own.
Hope to see you there.
Find me on Twitter @Caroline_Torus