IT DISTURBS ME to see the big black stamp "WITHDRAWN" on a hardback copy of The Cluetrain Manifesto (see photo). We use this seminal work as an essential reading in the Public Relations course taught in Tipperary Institute and it's a little unnerving to see a public library pull the copy--which they sometimes do after they prune back catalogues. It's still among the top 20,000 titles sold through Amazon. My Amazon request for a hard cover text took six months and five dollars to satisfy. Perhaps it took that long to declare the book lost from the stacks of the Geneva Public Library District.
Cluetrain explains why markets are conversations. In a testimony to one of the most fitting columns of the book, I cite from page 152, "Seven Ways to Tell Stories".
- Ban the opening joke. Begin your next PowerPoint presentation by saying, "Let me tell you a story ...." and then recount what made the market the way it is, what got your company to come up with such an incredible product, and what obstacles particular customers faced and overcame using your product.
- Make sure the forms you use to "collect knowledge" have big empty boxes in them so the story can be told.
- Every meeting with a potential partner, every important encounter with customers can best be told as a story. Do so.
- Turn your next white paper into a narrative.
- Collect the stories of your business and publish them on an intranet site.
- Reward the tellers of good stories. They're the people everyone's listening to anyway.
- Rewrite your mission statement as a corporate story. In fact, wouldn't a narrative version of an annual report help the company more than the usual hearty prose and canned snaps of happy employees?
Doc Searls -- "Raising a plank"
You can read all of The Cluetrain Manifesto for free online. You can see a live display of Amazon's top selling books which is changing radically as college book-buying takes off at the start of the academic year.
Bonus Link: Dervala Hanley -- "The Messages"