The strange private post that appeared in your mailbox
yesterday — it was supposed to be a page. Alas, since I created it as a post, it went out to God and everyone. I apologize for the random interruption. I also realize now that I have hijacked your attention yet again, I really owe you!
In an attempt to pay this debt, l give you Public Words, the website of Dr. Nick Morgan, a Boston-based communications theorist and coach. I got to this site via a post by David Meerman Scott titled How to Deliver a Ted Talk; Morgan helped Scott prepare his talk, which he gave at TEDx UMass Amherst. A video of David Meerman Scott’s Ted talk The Need to Explore is posted on YouTube.
Note: Apollo space geeks should watch if only to see Scott’s impressive collection of Apollo artifacts. And, if you are doing public speaking at all, you really should have a Ted style talk that reflects your point of view anchoring your speaking portfolio. (Three fingers pointing back at me — on it.)
By the way, I was compelled to find out more about Nick Morgan because of a habit I developed after having consumed many books and interviews of Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer and lecturer. When asked how he acquired such a deep understanding of mythology, Campbell said (paraphrased) when you come across someone with ideas that interest you, find out who influenced that person and read what they wrote, and then keep tracking back in this way until you follow the entire lineage of the idea back to its source.
Tracing the lineage of the idea of giving a great Ted talk presented by David Meerman Scott is how I found Dr. Nick Morgan and why I am able to share him with you now. So when you read a post, click on the links! Better: Google stalk the idea. Find out its lineage. It is amazing what you will learn. And how your perceptions will change. If you don’t know Joseph Campbell, here is a good place to start: Excerpts from “The Power of Myth.”
Anyway, in addition to receiving my own dumb post, I received Dr. Morgan’s latest post, Communications is Different Now — Part 3, the third in a series of three blog posts inspired by Nicco Mele’s new book, The End of Big. (Yes, I’m reading that book now, too. Duh.) Parts 1 and 2 were about connectivity and authenticity. Part 3 is about style.
In an environment of “radical connectivity” Dr. Nick Morgan says you have to make your communications style quick, ironic, geeky and cheeky. But the fifth one is the most interesting (and affirming) to me as it is a drum I’ve been beating pretty hard for the last few years, which is, to make your communications about saving the world.
Dr. Morgan thinks cause has become a sort of “fashion accessory” that eventually will lose its appeal. Perhaps. But I hope not.
Granted, there are organizations whose mission or cause is just a thin veneer for their real mission, which is to separate us from our money. But do you think they are really fooling anyone? Probably not. We might put up with it because we want to believe in good or because it meets our basic human need to understand and express our own identity and values through affiliation, or because on the most macro level, it provides us with a sense of meaning.
We all are seekers of meaning. The way most of us create meaning is through the alignment with a purpose that matches our values and they way we want to experience life — and ourselves. To compare our experiences of meaning with others, we tell stories, and those stories ultimately define both our worldview and our personal mythology.
So yes, when communicating, make it quick. (Hint: the more clearly you write, the “quicker” the piece will read, which means you can afford to take the reader on a little longer trip and pack in more value.) Make it ironic. (Thanks for the bizarro junk post, Helena.) And geeky. (Joe Campbell. Follow the idea back to its founder. Check.) And definitely make it cheeky. (A priori. Or, Duh.) But also please do make it about saving the world — regardless of whether or not it’s fashionable. At least your little piece of it. The change you are championing doesn’t have to be big.
It just needs to be on purpose.
Related post: How to Create Content That Changes The World