I had a conversation with an extremely interesting new client of ours last week. She’s worked in boardrooms and rainforests, North America and South America, at the side of shamans and CEO’s. She’s as wise and worldly as they come, and I'm amazed by her.
During our very first conversation, she said something profound.
“Asking questions is my superpower,” she exclaimed. “The way I ask questions allows my clients to break free from textbook definitions and find new identities in the season of life they happen to be in.”
Her confidence was magnetic, and in that moment, I knew I had found a kindred spirit.
Like our beloved client, asking questions and indulging my curiosity is how I find the invisible threads that we crave a connection with, threads that allow us to unravel the whole story to reveal . I believe it’s the single most important skill that helps me as a content creator, and the secret sauce that shapes me as a storyteller.
Years ago, I threw myself into photography. I studied the greats like Annie Leibovitz, Bill Cunningham, and Diane Arbus ferociously, constantly wondering how they made their subjects so comfortable in front of the camera (because the camera asks most of the questions when you think about it). The next year, I claimed journalism as my calling. I learned the art of the interview from people like Tim Russert and Ira Glass, then learned how to put it all together in the form of a story from the legends, like Gay Talese and Tom Wolfe. Finally, I decided on law as my chosen profession. But when I dug deeper, I found that it wasn’t law that I was attracted to — it was the art of the cross-examination, the calculated extraction that happened inside and outside of courtrooms to get the full story.
I soon realized that storymining – and thus, storytelling – was the common denominator in each of these professions, and that studying each of them gave me exactly what I needed to so that I could be here doing what I do today. My curiosity brought me here where I belong, and now, I get to create stories, businesses, and brands that are worth wondering about. For me, asking good questions – about my own work – changed everything.
Curiosity sparks powerful questions. Powerful questions spark purpose. Purpose sparks stories, connections, and conversations rooted in ownable truths
My clients pay me to shake them to the core with questions that no one has ever dared to ask them before, questions that are hard and complex and may even need a bit of coaxing out. Because that's what storytellers do – they dig.
We're not in the business of "content". We're in the business of curiosity.
Asking good questions breaks regular patterns of thought to challenge canned definitions of what it is that we ‘do’. Posed well, questions let us reframe our positioning, our life’s purpose, by shaking up our place in the picture, thus providing room for new identities, mantras, and messaging.
We might answer them matter-of-factly, or we may marinate on them. We might wrestle with our answer, or we might find refuge in possibilities that we've never considered before. Either way, questions change everything.
To me, curiosity more than a binary yes or no. Storytelling is more than just repeating what’s been heard before. Curiosity and storytelling go hand in hand in much more powerful ways, leading to powerful storytelling that reveals our human nature while curiosity digs for moods, roots around for motives, and chews on truths that often lie dormant.
Our work here at Lexicontent is diverse.
On any given day, we’re helping people understand the basic philosophies of psychotherapy, feel connected to luxury brands, realize the power of wearable technology, and fall in love with holistic nutrition. Asking questions helps us get into the right frame of mind, so that we can frame up the work. But the truths behind each of these stories always tap into what makes us human: our need to be fulfilled, supported, satiated, and understood.
Good content and emotion-driven stories begin with great questions.
If you're not asking great questions, you're letting not tugging on those invisible threads hard enough.