Archive for communicator

Rachael Ray and I Have A Story

I met Rachael Ray today.

Aside from thinking she was clever and witty and unbearably cute, just as anyone who’s ever seen her will, one thing virtually struck my forehead like the rolled up newspaper we trained the new puppy with. The way she communicates is adorable because it feels like truth. From the modern vernacular she uses to the enthusiastic pacing and tonality of her words, she’s telling us a story every time she speaks. In fact, when asked how she makes her show segments so engaging since she openly professes NOT to be a chef, she replied, “It’s never about the food…it’s always about the story.”

This really got me thinking. So many of the great speakers, personalities and influencers excel at communicating not because it’s about what THEY know; they excel at communicating because they effectively relate it to what WE know.

Weaving a good story involves using a frame of reference that your audience can engage with, laugh about or have a good cry over. The phrase ‘Don’t speak at me, speak with me’ couldn’t ring more true. A masterful story comes from a place of open and vulnerable sharing – the storyteller often gifted with a style that takes the listener by hand while traipsing through the experience together. The story, having a definitive beginning, middle and end, captures interest so effortlessly that one forgets they’re listening to a speaker, but feels instead as if gabbing with girlfriends.

What makes a bad story?

  • Listing facts
  • Reading bullet points
  • Using technical jargon
  • Avoidance of flow
  • Lack of an ending point
  • Condescension

A good story will leave you with a new knowledge or a lesson learned.  A great story encourages the listener to do 3 very basic but important things with the message – Relate. Remember. Retain.

Ultimately, whether because of the story itself or the emotion left lingering on the listener, an effective communicator makes their experience become yours too.

So just after signing my name, then hers, in the new release “Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook” book, Rachael Ray took my hand and we posed for the camera together. Suddenly my own quick wit overcame me and I made the most daring, but applicable and totally funny remark (something I won’t repeat but can tell you came as a direct response to a string of commentary Rachael herself had started at the live interview with Philadelphia Magazine’s Publisher, Marian Conicella, only moments before the book signing).  In that brief flash of time between her look of surprise and the subsequent burst of genuine laughter, it was clear that she knew I’d been listening very closely.

On this day, Rachael Ray and I had a moment.  And now it’s my story.

Other Engaging Links:

Has Book Reviewing Become a Female Dominated Industry?

So I’m at the book blogging convention at the Javits Center in Manhattan Friday (which had immediately followed the Book Expo America) and made an interesting observation.  As I sat, hour after hour and session after informative session, I’d look around and see that, at any given moment, there were no more than 5 men in a room packed with attendees.  As the day progressed, it became evident that 2 of those men were there to be speakers/panelists, while 2 more of them were event sponsors.


From what I learned, being a Book Reviewer in an online world is an often thankless, arduous job, yet droves of people embrace the activity every day, whether it’s a paid gig or not. What can this tell us about the industry of blogs that review books and the commitment with which women have embraced the opportunity? A few things came to mind;

  • Women are natural communicators.  Their interest in sharing opinions is innate and driven.
  • Women are compassionate. Countless comments were made about being direct, but sparing negativity in the review process.
  • Women are multi-taskers. They live life with a voice from inside that screams, “Sure I can fit this into a day ‘cuz I want really to”, when that day is already jam packed with other essential crap to do.
  • Women are pioneers motivated by passion.  For the majority of attendees & speakers, the love of books (not money) is the sole reason for becoming the next big literary critic.

Consequently, as I sat for lunch, the lone author at a table crammed with professional women from book industry giants like Random  House, Osprey Publishing and Penguin Books, these observations only became more evident.  Discussions revolved around the love of the task itself and the commonality with which each individual pours herself into her work. Inevitably, cards were exchanged and future business connections made, but not until the conversation’s end. The graceful way that women perform these acts of connection-making is more a stealthily executed afterthought than it is a WIIFM (what’s in it for me) format. The exchange of thoughts & feelings comes first, business is a natural outcome.  You go girls.

Not for nuthin’, but I was the first person to sit down at an empty table for lunch – the others who joined me afterward were totally unsolicited…or were they?  Mental note, write a post about ‘The Power of Intention‘.

So I pose the question…has this viral movement of online book reviewing been claimed by literary femme fatale contributors?  Or were the men simply at home with the pets & kids this week?