What’s Your Story?

Once upon a time—Saturday, Feb 9, to be exact—our chapter gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of many of our peers. While dining on fine food at the historic DACOR Bacon House in Washington, DC, we were entertained by Mary R. Wise, an STC fellow and member of our chapter. Mary told us a story about the power of storytelling. Inspired by her 96-year-old mother’s recent tale to National Public Radio’s StoryCorps, Mary began contemplating the meaning and value of storytelling. “Storytelling is as old as fire,” she marvelled. It distinguishes us as humans. We leave traces of our stories embedded in our cultural artifacts throughout history. Everyone has stories to tell, and knowing how to tell them well is what we do as professional communicators. She challenged us to step back from Rule #1 of technical communication—”Know your audience”—to start with Rule #0—”Figure out what your story is.” And knowing THAT will make our technical communication pieces all the more worth noting.

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