When I was in Ecuador, someone recognized me from Shrekfest. If this sounds like a joke to you, you just made my day.
While my 15 minutes of fame in Ecuador is not a joke, nonsensical fun is definitely in my wheelhouse. It’s the foundation of my career as a professional communicator and has taught me invaluable lessons for how to navigate a variety of projects and work with a diverse group of clients.
Did you hear the one about …
I don’t broadcast this often, but I was a comedy writer at a small newspaper a few years before joining DCG. This odd little platform let me express silly nonsense in a news/opinion format. Some of my pieces even went semi-viral for a short time and this is how I came to be recognized in Ecuador.
Even though I also have extensive professional writing experience with nonprofits, politicians, and CEOs and studied journalism, international relations, and Arabic, few lessons I’ve learned along the way proliferate and tie my work together quite like comedy writing.
Since developing this part of my writing portfolio, every job I’ve had since has benefited because it taught me how to approach every topic from an outside, but relatable perspective to connect the client with the audience. From one goofy comedy writer to all of you, here are some ideas I’ve picked up over the years that helped me become a better communicator:
Be a little weird. Whether it’s creating a new campaign, a newsletter, or writing a video script, we’re constantly thinking about messaging. When I’m starting a new project that involves some creative discretion, I make lists of every thought that pops into my head regardless of how bizarre or irrelevant some ideas are. Achieving the right messaging comes after a bit of bouncing around nonsensically and searching but it has always paid off.
Entertain yourself first. A common misconception people have when they begin writing comedic-ly is they will always try to make someone else laugh and do what you think “they” will appreciate. I’ve met a ton of people who do this, and it always leads to self-sabotage and a lack of inspiration. The secret is to make yourself laugh and show the audience why it’s funny to you. If you are laughing as you’re writing it, then you’re doing something correct.
What’s important is you can apply this idea to any form of communications that need to relay specific ideas to the public. Through personal understanding and appreciation, communications become a lot sharper, and therefore, I think more people will gravitate toward your work for its superior level of quality.
Be inquisitive. Every funny thing I’ve developed followed me asking “what” or “why” something was happening, and why is nobody talking about it? Regardless of your task at hand — producing comedy or government materials — always ask questions.
I hope these ideas resonate with people the way they help me write and remain adaptable with different clients and topics.
Stay silly, DCGers.