Wick Communications

Tell emotional stories

In Writing techniques on August 26, 2016 at 8:23 am

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This is hardly a new concept I’m about to drop right here, but consider it a reminder: Stories with raw emotion are the best stories.

I was reminded of that during the recent Olympic games. What moments do you remember? (OK, forget about that swimmer who lied and a certain soccer goalie who whined more than she won.) Michael Phelps celebrating with a shout to the heavens and his fists clenched. The joy of Usain Bolt every time he ran. Two long distance runners who helped each other finish after tripping in a distance event. Monica Puig, in the photo above, winning the first-ever gold medal for an Olympian from Puerto Rico.

The emotion of the Games transcends the games themselves. Did you know that, in the United States at least, more women than men tune into the Olympics? It isn’t because women are traditionally the largest sports audience in the nation. It’s because each of the athletes have stories of perseverance, sacrifice and family.

And you know what? There are stories throughout your community that combine those elements. I don’t mean to condescend, just offering a reminder. …

Deadlines are good for you

In Innovation on August 26, 2016 at 8:17 am

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We all have one thing in common: Not enough hours in the day.

You get up before the sun, shower and brush your teeth. You plan dinner, put out the trash, pay a couple bills over a bowl of cereal. Maybe you have kids to rouse and rush to school. You fight traffic. … All this before you land at work for a full day.

And work is filled with dozens of tasks that conspire to keep you from your bliss. If you are a writer, you probably have a story that has been rolling around the back of your mind but just can’t seem to get to it. If you are a manager, you want to spend more time coaching and helping your direct reports succeed. If you are a publisher, you could be shaking hands with advertisers or soliciting testimonials or planning the next magazine if not for all this busy work.

But there just is no time. Right?

This isn’t a guilt trip. You really are as busy you feel. Yet…

When the race is run, you might not be remembered so much for all the little things you do throughout every day as for the true accomplishments that stand like peaks in your life. It might be running a marathon or writing a novel. It might be redesigning the front page of your newspaper. You might feel like there is no time for any of that. The truth is, there is time for nothing else. And you know what? If you had more time, you likely wouldn’t reach any more of those peaks. …

A special day in Sierra Vista

In Ideas on August 26, 2016 at 8:10 am

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Wick Communications directors, group publishers and others joined CEO Francis Wick for a very special workshop in Sierra Vista, Ariz., on Monday. We were the beneficiaries of the largess of the Knight Foundation, which paid the tab for a visit from Stanford Design School trainer Tran Ha.

Tran ran through the fundamentals of design thinking. I’ve touted the benefits of this new paradigm in this blog before. In a nutshell, design thinking is a mindset and a process that calls for empathy with users as a precursor to prototyping and testing new solutions to sometimes old problems. I thought I would point out just three of the high points from Monday in hopes you might take something from them too.

Ask the right question. Too often, we jump to solutions without asking the most important people – readers, advertisers, employees – about their lifestyles, needs and hopes for our work. Empathy for the people we serve is the key to the whole ball of wax. It’s not difficult and it doesn’t cost much. If you have a problem, ask the end user before deciding on a new course.

Design-thinking doesn’t have to take all day. Again and again, Tran told us to take five minutes, three minutes, one minute on a creative assignment. Don’t let the process paralyze you. …

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