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?
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.
Every couple of months I have the same conversation with my colleague Paul Thomas. I really should blog more. It’s been ages since I blogged. I’m going to write a blog tonight on the train. I fell asleep on the train, I literally could not keep my eyes open. I’ll definitely blog at the weekend…
So here I am at the weekend (not the weekend that followed this conversation, but a weekend nonetheless), writing a blog, about writing a blog. It might sound like I’m scraping the barrel for ideas, but bear with me. Continue reading