Thursday, 15 January 2015

BLOG ALERT The Powerful Story

and how it can create powerful content for your blog, podcast or radio show. 'We all have personal stories about who we are and what the world is like for us.'  So says  Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia Timothy D Wilson.

He says 'these stories aren't necessarily conscious, but they are narratives that exist in the back of our minds.' 

Working with with Broadcaster and comedian Sandi Toksvig her mantra was that 'everything was material.'  She collected the events of her life, curated them and then turned them into stories she could use.

Comedians like Michael McIntyre do the same to create their observational comedy.  But Sandi went a step further, she incorporated her observations and stories into her radio show and had a jolly anecdote for every occasion.  Example:

We were talking about short-sightedness and Sandi recalled a train journey where she was sat opposite a gentleman who exposed himself to her.  Unzipping his flies he exclaimed "Get a look at this!"  Sandi replied, "I will but I am very short-sighted, let me just get my glasses out of my handbag." When she finally put her glasses on the gentleman had mysteriously disappeared.

This event in real life was probably a far less jolly affair, I guess it was disturbing and in truth unpleasant.  But Sandi grabbed this negative event and turned it into a positive and a source of rich content for the radio show.

In cognitive behavioural therapy "story editing" is used to improve the well-being of a patient, interpreting the negative or self-defeating events and creating a positive story.

So you can use cognitive science to create material, ideas and stories that you can then use to fashion great content.  Everyday events suddenly become a rich source of material.  OK it takes some skill to curate the event.

I always recommend keeping a blog - the modern day equivalent of a journal - there you can jot done just a quick few paragraphs about the day or event.  You don't need to publish the story, WordPress and Blogger allow you to write without publishing - so here's to the Powerful Story and how it can make you a better broadcaster.

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