If you pick up a book on how to write or tell a story, somewhere in it will be the following advice:
From a fiction standpoint, listening is a great way to capture and understand dialogue. You can also
steal find some interesting stories when you listen to others.
But in today’s social media rich world, if you’re telling your business story, listening becomes much more than that.
Listening becomes a way to connect with people, build relationships and scout new prospects.
Like most writers, I have a dual professional persona. I write for clients helping to tell their stories and I write for myself, telling mine.
Recently I came across a writing conference I was considering. Truth be told, I’m always coming across writing conferences I’m thinking about attending but this one was economical, well-known and located in the heart of the publishing world. I did what any normal writer in today’s world would do – I tweeted my possible interest, including the @name for the organization hosting the conference.
That was three weeks ago and crickets.
This organization is much larger than I am and I have no doubt they will sell out on this conference but compare that to a conversation I had with another writer’s conference organizer.
I phoned her to find out if my favorite living author still had room in his session. Not only did I get an answer to my question but we talked about him and his latest book. We laughed about how writers always think every story they write will turn into a major motion picture. We wonder if we’ll have any say into the casting.
Writers are dreamers. If I had more of an entrepreneurial spirit, I would host a joint conference for writers and people who play the lottery all the time. I digress. She gave me…
So which one am I attending?
Is that even a question?
You cannot form a relationship or “kinship,” as Gini Dietrich refers to it in her book Spin Sucks, without listening. Listening in person, listening online, being present in conversations. We’ve received a gift in that it’s easy to hear when someone is talking about us on social media. If you get labeled as someone who doesn’t listen you’ll find fewer people are interested in being a part of your story.
If you want to tell a good story, you have to listen.