In this episode of MakingChips, Jason Zenger and Jim Carr introduce a new team member, Christine Schmitz - an experienced editor and writer who explains why storytelling matters to manufacturers and their businesses. Having long been connected to the manufacturing world through her husband, Dr. Tony Schmitz (featured in a previous episode), Christine has an intensely valuable viewpoint on how and why it is important for leaders to be able to tell good stories. “Communications is the foundation of who I am,” Christine shares. To communicate well, one must build relationship, and relationship is founded in the sharing of stories. Want to know what makes a great story and how knowing how to write one can boost your game in the manufacturing business? Listen to the whole episode!
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Bringing process and art together
Just as in manufacturing, there is a process of writing a good story. Christine shares the process of how to take your story and vision and work it into a compelling and useful tool.
- The process begins with the reader - the intended audience. Identify who your audience is and ask, “What do they want to know that I can share?”
- Identify what expertise you can share with your audience by knowing what problem you solve through your business or work. Your audience’s interest lies in the application of your knowledge and profession.
- Find an editor or another person you trust to give you feedback on your writing. Another set of eyes is invaluable and a vital part to the success of your story.
- Always reread your writing. Trust your professional intuition and make sure that your work, vision, and story is conveyed honestly and effectively.
Creating a shared vision through your story
Christine points out that most people only think of themselves when communicating. To build a lasting and effective relationship, however, one must think of the other person - in this case, the manufacturing leader must think of his or her business, employees, customers, and possible recruits. All of these categories are readers of your story who want to know, “What’s in it for me?” It can often be difficult for manufacturers to share the story of their work, the challenge of their highly technical fields, or the processes they use. Christine reveals that relevance is key to building the bridge between writer and reader. “When it’s hard to explain what you are doing to another person,” she explains, “it dramatically impacts the relationship you can have with them.” To learn how to best create a shared vision through your story, listen to the full episode!
Connecting yourself and your audience through problem-solving
Tailoring your message to your audience is vital for the survival of your story. But how should you convey your manufacturing story to capture your audience? Christine points out that manufacturing is something that permeates everybody’s lives. Manufacturers produce something tangible every day, whereas most other people do not. People want to know how and why you create the things you do - as long as the application applies to them. Your audience wants to know what the problem is that you solve and how and why you solve that problem. Connect yourself with your audience by concentrating your story on the end result of your work.
Quality is always better than quantity
Christine warns against the temptation to simply flood your readers and audience with information that they may not be interested in or need. Always take quality over quantity. One way you can ensure the quality of your writing is through an editor. While your professional expertise is needed to correctly tell the story, an editor can help you build the strongest and most effective bridge between your story and your audience. Also, realize that there is no one way to write. Find a process that works for you and don’t be afraid to change that process when it’s not working. To learn more about writing as a process and why storytelling matters to your manufacturing business and skillset, listen to the full episode!
Here’s The Good Stuff!
- Manufacturing is storytelling.
- Manufacturing News: changes in tariffs.
- Introducing the new MakingChips member: Christine Schmitz.
- Why is it important to convey a good story?
- Storytelling as a process.
- Clarity in storytelling.
- What’s in it for me? Relevance in storytelling.
- Why should manufacturers write?
- Getting started: Connecting with your audience.
- Common storylines: everyone is touched by manufacturing.
- The importance of an editor.
- Quality over quantity in writing.
Tools & Takeaways