Home Forums Circularity Mike Strauss: Chat Log, Wednesday, April 22, 2020, Session 2

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      Michael Strauss


      Robert: If you listen to a speech in Maori without knowing much of the language, you will here “engari” (but) and “no reira” (therefore) as two of the most common words.

      Love this! It’s not about language but about narrative.


      James: My cousin, a journalist married to a diplomat, finds diplomats the most boring speakers : )

      I used to attend World Bank meetings…and got lots of extra reading done during them!


      Euan: The challenge is justifying importance of what I’m about to say (to get attention) in such a short space

      Back to that over-riding need: “Tell me why I should care!”


      Dean: Yes — less is more. And that’s the advice I hand out when I’m critiquing. How hard it is to cut detail from one’s own work 🙂

      Sometimes we are too close to our work. One trick I have used is to challenge myself to reduce the absolute number of words by say 10 or 20 percent. It’s not a rule but for me it makes me look at what I’m saying and helps me find those “interesting sidebar” sentences that don’t actually advance the narrative. 


      Julie: On your statement on the importance of specifics.  Scientists are all about specifics and warned not to be too specific… Assume there is an art to finding the right specifics.

      There is, it’s called “narrative.” ☺


      James: How helpful is pointing out passive constructions /nominalizations in helping people to re-work their ABTs?

      Scientists love passive voice…the editors I worked with when writing reports for Congress worked to drive it out of me (and were only partially successful)


      James: I’m curious about toggling between AAA and ABT – is it worth pushing students/clients to think about developing ABT habits, even when they are talking to their inner circle.

      Yes, first because it’s always more compelling and second because while you may think your whole audience is your inner circle, they all may not be!


      Evelyn Wight: Are there resources anyone can share that overlay the principles of narrative/story telling with fund raising and policy making (books, articles, etc.)?

      I took a course from the Foundation Center many years ago on grant writing. The most important thing I took away was that my proposals had to make the reader care about my work. Sound familiar? It was not until I met Randy that I learned HOW to accomplish that.


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