[by Jenna Close]
“We are living the communication age”. (I got that quote from the internet). Whether through photography or by the written word each of us has a voice that is heard by more people than ever before. (That’s me just winging it). So what are the rules for attractive and effective communication? To quote Thomas Edison… “Hell, there are no rules here – we’re trying to accomplish something”. And what are we trying to accomplish? We are trying to engage readers and viewers. So… what pulls them in? What do people love the best? We love to identify with the writer, the tweeter, the speaker or the photographer. We like to discover something personal about the author, about who they are. And we love stories. With all this in mind, here a few guidelines I use when writing things like, well, this blog.
1) Share your failures as well as your successes. In 1990 Mario Salvadori, a structural engineer, wrote a book titled “Why Buildings Stand up”. When his grandmother saw the book she commented. “I’d much rather know why buildings fall down”. Two years later he published “Why Buildings Fall Down”. It was a great success.
2) Get them laughing. If you can get people laughing they are more likely to stay attentive. Jamie Clarke is an Extreme Adventurer and Keynote Speaker who does a wonderful lecture about climbing Everest. While the actual act of climbing Everest is something only a few people can relate to, he fills his tale with humorous tangental digressions and he uses those to impart larger lessons that are memorable and relevant. People are engaged from beginning to end, even if they have no interest in climbing itself.
3) Make it personal. YOU are the most interesting thing you have to offer. It doesn’t really matter what you are presenting. Ultimately you are the most interesting part of it. It is all coming through you. So, who are you? What’s your perspective? What is your story? No matter the subject of your speech or your paper or photograph or blog, it’s the way it gets filtered through your individual personality that creates the most interest.
Jenna Close wrote her first and only book in the 5th grade. It was called Chubby and the main character was an overweight horse. Luckily, she’s now a commercial photographer.
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