"The story is everything and the ability to tell it," Rubenstein senior vp Robin Vreges tells Doug Simon, "but I think the top tip is, after you know what the story is, what's the picture? What do you want people to imagine? Because you can tell a great story, but what you really want to do to grab people's attention is to make them picture it."
Verges says that her experience in broadcast media taught her a lot about using visuals to quickly communicate the point of a story. "I think mapping something out visually helps not only us understand the story better and be better able to communicate it."
When pitching via email, Verges says "it's no secret that you've got to get to the point very quickly." She notes that "when you didn't have so much email communication, you would have to either get your verbal pitch together in the fewest amount of words that could convey your story and the picture. You would have to do that with your headline, and now you have to do that with your subject line."
Getting the point across quickly, Verges tells Simon, is just as important in internal communications at it is with clients. "There's the kind of story that we even have internally about our own agency. It's based on a few tenets that we get told early on and repeated often, and it's to draw an ethical line in the sand."
Another key element in internal comms is mentoring. At Rubenstein, she says, "there's an opportunity to do a variety of kinds of accounts, to do things that may be outside of your comfort zone, to get that experience, and to either move up in the company or move on to greater heights."
She also discusses the importance of developing relationships, and says that "mutual trust" is an essential element. "I've had dozens of reporters tell me personally that they know if Rubenstein is reaching out to them, that we're not going to waste their time. We actually have a story. That's how you have to build trust."
But that sense of moving quickly to the point and drawing a claear picture for the viewer is what remains essential to storytelling in any sector, she says.
"I think the value of storytelling, it's almost timeless because we want to have the opportunity to convince, sway, shape opinion, and by making the recipient of your communication come up with their own interpretation of what you're saying."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]