Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of delivering my first Writing Masterclass in London to seven internal communications professionals on behalf of Rachel Miller and All Things IC.
It was a mixture of me talking, group discussion and exercises, and the main objective was for the attendees to take away practical writing skills they could start using at work the very next day.
It was a great session full of lively conversation, insightful questions and sharing of experiences, both mine and the people sat around the table.
And that’s the great thing about All Things IC Masterclasses, you can learn as much from the other attendees as you can from the tutor. And as the tutor, I also took away hints and tips from others in the room that I’ll certainly be using in the future.
For me, this masterclass was as much about imparting wisdom from my own experiences as it was about working on my professional development and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. So, I thought I’d share some of the things I learnt about preparing for, and delivering, a masterclass.
I love stories. As a little girl I would lose myself in books. One minute I’d be walking along the railway tracks in the early 20th century with Bobby, Peter and Phil, and the next I’d be sat in a bedroom in Connecticut, as part of the Babysitter’s Club. Or I’d be cycling up hills in Yorkshire rescuing animals and taking them to Animal Ark, followed by a trip to a chocolate factory with Charlie and his granddad.
And this love of stories didn’t fade as I got older. Not only did I start writing my own, but I also found myself working in an industry that is slowly waking up to the transformational power of storytelling.
I made a short video to tell you a bit more about my Writing Masterclass, taking place on 22 February at WallaceSpace in London. There are a couple of spaces left, so don’t miss out – book now!
Humans have been storytelling for thousands of years, however it was often confined to the minds of frustrated, penniless novelists and mothers trying to lull their children to sleep.
Not anymore. Big brands are using it to great effect. Take the current DFS advert. They’re not just telling you about the great sofas they have available, they’re showing you real people in the workshops with the skills and enthusiasm to ensure your sofa will arrive before Christmas.
And newspapers and journalists aren’t just delivering the facts, they’re telling us stories of unaccompanied child refugees making their way across Europe and families torn apart by the war in Syria.
I’m not telling you anything new, but it does take some skill to tell a really good story and to identify what one is in the first place. How confident are we as communicators that we can find the story at the heart of the corporate world?
Ahead of my writing masterclass in November and my guest spot on #commschat this Monday (18 July) to discuss the importance of writing in internal communication, I’ve put together some top tips to create great copy.
In a world of wonky comms, do internal communicators still need writing skills?
Absolutely. I know how to bake a cake, but I’m still going to turn to an expert to create something beyond the basics. And the same can be said for writing.
A wooden fence surrounded the junkyard, separating the scrap metal from the small red cabin with the vast desert stretching out behind it. One of the lower beams, bowed slightly under Avery’s weight, her head resting on her folded arms atop one of the higher beams. Her pale face was flecked with freckles and framed by a blunt fringe, damp with sweat and stuck to her forehead. Two straggly yellow plaits tied with blue ribbon that matched her pinafore dress, sat limply on her shoulders.
Her momma had always kept a box of ribbons under her bed, which Avery liked nothing more than to rummage through, draping herself in the brilliant red, blue, green, yellow and orange silks. Her daddy had often joked that her momma’s ribbon collection would be the envy of souk merchants across the Middle East.
At the time, Avery had thought her daddy was referring to the middle east of America, and begged him to take her, surmising it would be a day’s drive at the most. He’d laughed and told her she might need to find a magic carpet to get to the deserts of North Africa in a day.