Tag Archives: compelling business stories

The human element in business storytelling

Woman holding a touchpad pc, reading a newspaperby Amy J.V. Atwell

Interviewing interesting people is by far the best part of my job. Over the years, I have had the chance to talk with CEOs of Colorado companies, engineers, community leaders, scientists, analysts and experts in a variety of fields – among so many others.

These interviews are the heart of the storytelling I do. Research, reviewing articles and websites, and gathering data is important, of course, but the human element is what makes any story interesting.

I interviewed a source last night for a human-interest article that will be featured in a corporate newsletter. The conversation started off a bit stilted, as is often the case, and the source seemed a little nervous and self-conscious. As our chat went on, though, she relaxed and her passion for her work began to shine through. That moment is the sweet spot of any interview – the moment when I get true insight into what drives a person and what, in turn, drives the person’s work.

I have seen a similar sweet spot when sitting in on photo shoots. The subject often starts off shy or tense, but a good photographer just keeps talking, asking questions and helping the subject feel at ease. As the person’s shoulders relax and the spark returns to his eyes, that’s the moment when a winning shot happens. That kind of image radiates warmth from the page and draws a reader into the story.

The art of storytelling ­– whether through the written word or visual images – takes a reader beyond the brass-tacks facts about a business’ widget. A compelling story gives a reader a reason to care; a reason to relate. The next time you share a story about your business, think about how you can tie in a bit of that human element.

Amy J.V. Atwell is a Denver-based freelance writer and editor. She works with businesses to grow their brands through high-quality copy and content. Read more at www.heirloomcommunications.com.