(By Jeff McHugh) People often ask about my Irish Setter. “How’s Mickey?” Without thinking, I used to say, “He’s fine.”
But as a guy who coaches storytelling, I got bored with that and began mining every walk around downtown Portland with Mickey for stories to share.
Now when people ask, “How’s Mickey?” I have some mini-adventures prepared:
• He found a dead crow and a partial McDonald’s cheeseburger; he ate the burger but not the crow.
• Mickey has been hunting the same mouse in the bushes at City Hall since last July. Spotted it again today. Went bonkers.
• A group requested a photo with Mickey for their scavenger hunt. “Photo with dog” was on the list.
• Mickey can see in the rooms at the Hilton next door and barks at guests because he thinks they are in his yard.
• I thought he was injured because he was limping. Turns out it was a discarded cherry Jolly Rancher stuck on his paw.
Aren’t those stories more interesting than, “He’s fine?”
Sharing your personal stories makes you a more authentic media personality and creates a bond between you and the audience.
Good personal storytelling requires mindful awareness and notetaking as you go through your day. I take notes on my iPhone, but some people send themselves texts or email and others always keep pen and paper with them.
You can also mine your past for relevant stories to share. Director Harold Ramis wrote the script for Caddyshack after dredging up every golf and country club story that the crew could think of. The scene where Ted Knight is hit in the crotch with a golf ball came from Ramis’ real life.
That same storytelling practice created one of the most popular benchmarks at 98 Rock Baltimore with Josh Spiegel’s Horrible Childhood Memories.
It is the same idea behind the Weekend Jeopardy game at Rock 100.5 Atlanta. Bailey and Southside listeners hear story summaries every Monday and match them with the correct player on the show.
Randy Lane has advised on-air and podcast presenters for years that “it’s the stories you tell, and the stories that people tell about you.”
What will happen to you today that will become content for your audience tomorrow?
Jeff McHugh is known for developing talent for radio, TV and podcasts. He brings a mix of positivity, creativity, and strategy to the shows that he coaches. He is a member of the team at The Randy Lane Company and coaches on-stage presenters with Own The Room.