Communications: Truth Be Told

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“Truth be told.” Is this ancient adage still true? Truth be told, it is! And it was born out by two recent events. One was TEDxCapeMay, an event that I organize for America’s oldest seaside resort. The other was the Robert McKee’s Story seminar which we attended hoping to better serve our clients’ communications. While TEDxCapeMay drew leading doctors, scientists, artists, media producers, and wellness experts to tell their story of a singular “idea worth spreading” under the provocative theme “Truth Be Told,”  the McKee Story Seminar drew hundreds of screen writers, novelists, playwrights, and media producers to hear the renowned Robert McKee present the meaning of story and what it means to “write the truth.”

This Cape May Gazette story sums up the TEDxCapeMay 2015 event by saying that it “demonstrated the power and impact that telling the truth can have on society.” Presenters included wellness expert Max Strom speaking on honest intimacy, artist Jean Shin using trash to tell the truth through art, TV producer Marc Summers facing political correctness, and White House communications deputy Brad Jenkins telling the truth about Obamacare. Each presenter spoke about truth’s value, whether we’re speaking to ourselves, our friends, or our society.

A week later we sat at the feet of the master storyteller Robert McKee who proclaims that “a culture cannot evolve without honest, powerful storytelling. When society repeatedly experiences glossy, hollowed-out, pseudo-stories, it degenerates. We need true satires and tragedies, dramas and comedies that shine a clean light into the dingy corners of the human psyche and society. If not, as Yeats warned, ‘the centre cannot hold.'” McKee also applies the principles of story to corporate marketing communications with the mantra, “Don’t interrupt, entertain.” More on this later…

– Norris