Friday, July 23, 2010

The final lineup

Chapters written: 25. Chapters revised: 13. Words written: 21,966. Pre-vacation goal: met.

Still not happy with the title: From Stage to Page: Lessons for Business Communicators from Theater, Film and TV. Maybe just Talk Like An Actor with the subhead the same. Good vacation thinking.

My "final" table of contents:

1. Show, Don’t Tell
Nobody’s paid by the word anymore, so let’s start acting like it. What we can learn from “The Fugitive,” David Mamet and “Mad Men.”

2. Barriers to Communication
Do you live in a van by the river? The fears, assumptions and lawyers that keep people from communicating.

3. The Power of Emotion
In acting, emotion is everything. In business, it’s a dirty word. But there’s a reason facts are described as “cold” and “hard” – they’ll only get you so far.

4. Stand Outside Yourself
Perspective is everything. Put yourself in their shoes.

5. Start with the Audience
A roadmap to finding the intersection between the audience's needs and interests and the organization's goals and priorities.

6. Play the Want
Only after you’ve addressed your audience’s concerns have you earned the right to tell them what you want.

7. Tell a Story
Everybody’s got a story. Our job is to help them tell it.

8. His Master's Voice
If you’re just putting words in someone else’s mouth, it’s never going to ring true. Tips for capturing the tone, rhythm and style of the speaker.

9. Plainly speaking
Is your company a Laurence Olivier in a Bobby DeNiro world? Communicate like a human, as if you're talking to another human.

10. Getting from Point A to Point B
What sketch writing can teach us about discipline and focus in our writing.

11. Throw Out Your Baby
Take it from M. Night Shayamalan. If you love it too much – a word, a phrase, a passage – you need to let it go.

12. Staying on Message
There’s nothing more liberating than a finely crafted message framework. Just don’t drop your gig.

13. Using Humor
Want to know the secret to comedy? Being funny is an outcome, not a goal.

14. Pitch It
As writers, we expect our work to speak for itself. As introverts, that approach suits our style. But that’s not the way the world works, whether in business or in Hollywood.

15. Blocked? Get Over It
There’s no such thing as writer’s block. But if you think you have it, here are some tips for getting over it.

16. Find Your Own Process
Get your 7th grade teacher out of your head. The only “right” way to write is the way that works for you.

17. This Ain't Art ... and You're Not Shakespeare
Don’t be the Sean Young of corporate communications. Learn to compromise with clients over edits and changes.

18. Be an Editor, Not a Jackass
Be the type of editor you always wanted to have.

19. Creating Cathedral Builders
The key to employee communications is to turn rock breakers into cathedral builders.

20. Meetings Drive Productivity
SNL's Lorne Michaels has famously said that they don't go on the air because they're ready, they go on because it's 11:30. There’s nothing like the specter of a good public shaming to drive productivity.

21. Communications Drives Strategy
Imagine a play without a script. Wait, you don’t have to. It’s called “improv,” and it can sometimes be as unwatchable as a group of corporate executives pulling strategy out of the air.

22. Is This Thing On?
Life is an audition, and you’re always “on.”

23. Screw Your Fear
Believe in yourself. If you don’t, nobody else will. And if you can’t, take it from improv legend Mick Napier: learn to fake it.

24. On Language
Observations on making your writing sing.

25. Pet Peeves
Grammar is about more than providing a consistent framework for using language. It’s also for lording obscure bits of knowledge over others for the purpose of making ourselves feel superior.


Chelsea said...

Ever read a book called "Why Business People Speak Like Idiots?"

Cruised over here after your FB post said something about a book, and wow, your content sounds verry familiar. So funny we would take different paths but end up in the same place.

Rob Biesenbach said...

Ha -- I cite you guys in the conclusion to Plainly Speaking! I would say SIMILAR place, not quite the same:


An excellent resource on using simple language is a book co-authored by friend and former colleague Chelsea Hardaway. Its tone is evident from the title: Why People Speak Like Idiots: A Bullfighter’s Guide.

The book is comprehensive, insightful and, best of all, really funny. The authors dedicate the book to Mr. T, noting he put it best when he said, “Don’t gimme none o’ that jibba-jabba!”