Friday, February 8, 2008

planners need to be storytellers

"It's interesting to see how much the amount of information (given) influences its retention."

My mom and sister are fanatical storytellers. Each time they launch into a story, it happens before I know it. I hesitate: "do I have time for this?" I'm listening for a noun + verb kind of story; But they can't tell a story like that. The details get me every time.

Someone said once that information is the currency of a planner. Damnit then, give me the details.

A story is accepted or rejected by "the telling of it." Planners need to be good storytellers. I know this; however, this particular facet of planning is one that I need to work on the most. I can pinpoint the elements but when it comes to giving you context, I'm more brief than beautiful.

It feels good to share this. Word.
(the initial quote was one I wrote after listening to my mom tell me about a memory she had of her dad when she was seven years old and he was a mechanic and had a Ferrari up on blocks in the garage and her uncle had this car like an Aston Martin you know like James Bond and her dad listened to the radio while he worked on the car and..........)


Anonymous said...

I can relate to this. Storytelling comes with time and experience. I can tell a great story when it comes to talking about my own experiences, but summarizing and reflecting upon the story data is telling is difficult. You said something to the effect of "give me the details." In my own recent experiences as a growing planner spending time with the details, writing them down, thinking about them..over and over and over is where the story happens. There are some that can do this very quickly. Unfortunately, that's not me. I need to spend time with the data. Debate with others what I think it all means. From there the story starts to emerge. I can't tell the story until I can recite all the details. You get a feeling for what is most important. What is interesting.

sean said...

I'm halfway through Ian McEwan's book Saturday. It's not plot driven but detail driven. A very pure kind of storytelling. And I find it magnetic. Someone asked me what the book was about and I just started reciting details, and realized how much I absolutely have come to know the characters based on these details.

Nice link to planning too. I think the pull of gravity for business decisions are away from narrative. We should always (along with creatives) be the ones bringing it back to the simple fact that we are in the business of creating stuff that is compelling to people, and what is more compeling than a good story?

Amelia said...

Many years ago a (brilliant) Creative Director told me that the best books that he'd read about advertising was by William Goldman, who wrote scripts such as Marathon Man, The Princess Bride. He wrote two books about script-writing and the film industry, they were called What Lie Did I Tell and Adventures in the Screen Trade. One of the central points was about the craft skill of story telling, both in pitching ideas to studios and in his day to day work. They're great books and worth a read.

Balmule said...

The beauty of being a good story teller is also being a good listener. My story was not about my dad being a mechanic but one of my uncle, who didn't understand the car he had purchased for appearance sake and my father who "the nature" of that car. My dad had it up on blocks in the garange and recorded himself actually in the car 'driving' that beauty and allowing it tell it's story and then we all got to listen to it. That car sure could talk! I also got the rare please of sitting in the passenger seat while my father drove that car out on a country road and in that silence he spoke volumes about the talent he had as a race driver. It's in the delivery.