Slap An Old President: Your Golden Ticket To Better Storytelling
July 2001. The White House.
I was wearing a neck scarf because I thought it looked senatorial.
(Is that a word? It’s 11 p.m. I’m not looking it up. Just roll with it.)
After spending the previous day following a then very young Congressman Jeff Flake (yes, that Jeff Flake!) around the Capitol Building because my friend Christine and I were convinced he looked like Thomas Jefferson, I was ready for the *big* day.
The day all the 17-year old high school mock senators, chosen by their peers to represent their state, (2 girls per state) at Girls Nation met the President of the United States.
Right before bagels, we were told New York (that’d be me) would be the first to meet President George W. Bush.
Um. Terrified. Excited. Oh-Em-Gee.
We step up and I am the first person to shake his hand. As I say, “Mr. President what an honor...” my left-hand goes to his back and as if a robot had taken control of my body.
Whack. Boom. Right on his back. Kind of like a football coach. A weird one.
He laughed and totally took my nervousness in stride. He couldn’t have been nicer. We spent the rest of the time talking about “The Big Apple”, all the pizza I ate thanks to “Book It”, what actually defined “upstate New York” and “cows”. It was a moment I’ll never forget.
The moment I *technically* slapped the 43rd President of The United States.
Your Golden Ticket
Why am I telling you this? Besides the fact that it’s a good story about me?
My reason is a tad more important than myself because I’m here for you after all. Yeah, it’s about you…
Listen, lately, I’ve been reading lots of marketing peeps talk about how you can write compelling copy without talking about yourself or your personal life.
Cue The Family Feud X.
I don’t mean to get all “Lovely Ladies” from Les Mis on you but you are selling yourself. Your knowledge, your experience, your practical magic. You're teaching through you.
Everything has already been said. The last original idea was probably said by Aristotle (again not even remotely gonna look it up) but it hasn’t been said by you, to this audience.
And that is the golden ticket.
“But, Marisa,” you say. “How many times can I tell my Elizabeth Gilbert ‘crying on the bathroom floor’ story?”
I sooo get it.
More Than Just Vulnerable
That’s why I just told you a story about the time I slapped The President of The United States. I could easily reference it back to how that moment, that week of my life directly relates to the work I do now (it really, really does).
Or how instead of saying, “Take the bull by the horns” I say “Slap the President” - what’s your new phrase for your next sales page?
And I could, if I wanted to, take it a step further and tell you that week of July 2001 is the most innocent I have ever felt in my whole life.
How I think about that girl nearly every day. A month before 9/11; before global and personal heartbreak; a girl with dreams so big she was certain she’d achieve, and then Mandy Moore’s “17” would start playing.
(By the way, I’ve always been a die-hard Mandy Moore fan. I didn’t just hop on for This Is Us Mandy. I’ve been there since the lyric, “I’ve got a crush on you. I hope you feel the way that I do...”)
The point is you have stories and it ain’t just the “vulnerable” one you are constantly crafting at masterminds. Tell that story when it’s needed but tell other stories, too.
Recently, a client of mine collaborated on a blog that started like this…
“Turns out whale watching is a nightmare for your weight loss…”
The story had zero to do with how she lost 35+ lbs and has never looked back (also true and super compelling story) and directly linked back to what her audience had been asking for - simple snacks for when you’re traveling.
What’s Your Slap Story?
So, let’s take it one more step…
Right now - don’t think just write - tell me one of those quick stories.
(That would be in the comments right below this ;)
Here’s some more help to get you thinking...
Where were you the first time you tried a Ring Pop?
(Eddie Jordan was teaching me how to ride my bike. We had just got them for a dime. A dime y’all!)
Who was your first childhood crush?
(Mine was Judas from the Jesus of Nazareth miniseries. I never told a soul. Too terrified. I went to Catholic school, sweetie. Years later, I would learn that Judas was played by Ian McShane!)
The *one* song that comes on Spotify that could cause an accident because you’re so excited?
(“Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” by Michael Jackson you would think I was clinically insane if you saw me driving during this song.)
I can’t wait to read your stories. Because I also bet I can directly link them back to your business. Gosh, I love games like this!!