One of the trends in public relations right now is “telling stories,” as opposed to “communicating messages.” Of course you are still communicating key messages to targeted audiences, you’re just doing it in a different way. Today in the car NPR replayed an interview by the late Peter “No Prisoners!” O’Toole that was recorded in 1993 with Terry Gross. It is a masterclass in the telling of short stories.
Here’s a short example, but I encourage you to listen to the entire interview and challenge you to not be entertained and inspired:
On getting into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
A chum of mine — who intended to be a painter — and I hitchhiked our way into London to begin our lives and we jumped off the lorry, the truck, at a station called Houston and we were aiming for a men’s hostel. … And we were plodding down [the street] and I looked on my left and it said, “The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art” and my chum said, “Well, if you’re going to be an actor this is the kind of shop where they deal with such matters, so why don’t you pop in?” So I popped in and I saw a bust of Bernard Shaw, and I was looking at the bust of Bernard Shaw and … the sergeant commissionaire joined me at the bust and we started yawning about Bernard Shaw telling stories. … And we were joined by a joined by an elderly, burly, gruff gentleman and he turned out to be the principal of the Royal Academy. He asked me if I was a student, and I said I wasn’t but I was thinking of being. And one thing led to another and I found myself, that afternoon even, turning up for the first interview and then I did an audition and [another] audition, and found, to my surprise that I was in.