Geoffrey Stackhouse, Managing Director, Clarity Solutions
Using a great anecdote in an interview is a gift which keeps on giving. A great story will capture a journalist's attention and give them an angle. But you've got to get it right.
No surprises that actor, comedian and story teller Billy Crystal has nailed the art of the anecdote. His cracking story about sitting with Princess Diana watching that scene in "When Harry Met Sally" was outstanding.
It gave the reporter an angle, the sub-editor a headline and, personally, it made me want to see the show he was spruiking. I'm even writing about it now.
You can read the full article here.
Stories work on an emotional level. They pull us in more deeply and are an alternative 'proof pathway'. But they have to be used correctly.
Crystal's story is tightly-structured and serves a clear purpose: to position him as uber celebrity, who is self deprecating, insightful and a 'must see'.
Crystal starts with the impact - why the story matters. Then backs that up with gripping evidence which paints a powerful picture, not just of the moment but of his talent.
And it lets the reader draw the only possible conclusion - I want what she's having.
Anecdotes work brilliantly with print media, but they come into their own for radio and television feature style interviews.
So how do you nail the art of the anecdote?
Make it strategic. Work out what you need your audience to think or feel and tell a story to evoke that.
Keep it tight. Polish it until you can deliver it in under 10 seconds.
Make it visual. Help me see the moment and what you were thinking or feeling at the time.