In May, I attended HighEdWeb Michigan, a regional conference sponsored by the Higher Education Web Professionals. This conference offered an amazing keynote by Kristina Halvorson, two tracks of content and networking opportunities.
Session recap about storytelling
One session that I found particularly informative was The Art of (Brand) Storytelling by Dawn Pick Benson.
Good storytelling requires time and effort
Dawn reminded us that telling a good story requires that you talk to your audience, attend their events and understand their emotional journey. If you don’t take time to understand your readers, then you won’t be able to craft stories that resonate; you’ll miss the opportunity to convert your passive readers to passionate stakeholders.
For example, if your audience is prospective students, you need to spend time attending orientation, campus tours or campus visit days and actually speak to the students. You need to ask them about their fears and needs. Only then can you truly understand where they are and how to communicate with them. You cannot rely on your personal experiences; you are not the audience.
A single story can be dangerous
Dawn also recommended we watch this TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie. In this talk, Adichie shares how easy it is to stereotype other people and cultures if we only reference a “single story.” It’s a good reminder that we need to seek out differing viewpoints and information sources to expand our perceptions.
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