Healthcare Public Relations and the Art of Storytelling
A 13-year-old girl is taking a train ride to New York City with her dad. During the journey, they talk to each other about a lot of things, including the usual topics of school, friends, texting (of course), boys, and getting along with her two brothers. At one point in the conversation, the daughter tells her father that one of her favorite things is when her mom, dad and all the aunts and uncles get together and tell stories about when they were young. She goes on to say that for the next family gathering, she really wants to make a “talking stick” because sometimes the kids find it hard to listen when the adults interrupt one another.
That’s a true story, told to me this morning. When I heard it, I thought about how very human is the need to listen to stories, and how amazing it is that even in our high speed, 140 character limit, texting and Twitter-obsessed culture, the art of storytelling and our need to be engaged by good stories is alive and well. I defy you to show me anybody more immersed in our short attention span media and communication culture than a 13-year-old girl. And yet she’s expressing her joy at sitting and listening to her parents and relatives tell stories about when they were young.
At its very essence, marketing is storytelling. As we continue to evolve new ways to communicate, as we blog and Twitter and use LinkedIn and Facebook, let’s keep in mind that conversation between a 13-year-old daughter and her dad on the train to New York City, and let’s not lose sight of the fact that no matter what the medium, we all still want to hear a good story.