We All LOVE a Good Character – SXSW #storytelling

Gathering of the tribes...

South By Southwest is only a few weeks away, and everyone here at Get Storied is waiting with bated breath (ok, maybe it’s just me).

Last year was my first time at the SXSW festival and it was a life changing experience. I met face to face with hundreds of friends I’d only met and connected with online before. That’s that power of SXSW, it’s a big giant gathering of the tribes. Sort of like Khumb Mela for the Internet Generation.

This year, I’m back in Austin for more storytelling fun. Bonus, my speaking proposal was accepted at the 11th hour, so please, please, please, come out and join me.

Where Inner and Outer Characters Meet

My Session, “Character Building as An Attention Magnet”, is scheduled for Monday, March 12 at 1:30pm CT at the Sheraton on Capitol View North.

You’ve heard me say, “character trumps credentials” when it comes to rewriting your bio and about page. People want to know who you are, how you see the world, and what makes you tick. That’s far more compelling than your fancy certificate from Instant Mega-Riches Academy.

Well, there’s more to the story. Especially when it comes to expressing a character through your blog, brand, and products. People want to relate to you, and character is the way to do it. Think of your favorite story (movie, book, play), and imagine it without the main character. Not much of story left is there? Its the characters in a story that we identify with. And that’s the secret to making yourself more approachable, relatable, and endearing to your audience online.

Serving Up Two-Side of Character

  1. Inner Character – is revealed through the choices you make in the face of circumstances
  2. Outer Character – is your persona (what you want people to remember you for)

Who's your favorite character?

Inner character isn’t something you construct or invent. It’s something that’s shown or revealed in the face of obstacles and challenges. That’s why some of your most harrowing experiences can actually make you stronger. You wouldn’t wish them upon anybody, and yet you discovered who you really are in the face of such crisis. (Don’t worry, even if you’re not proud of your past choices, you always have a chance to redeem yourself and make new choices going forward). Inner character gets revealed over the long arc of your life story. It’s an adventure with multiple chapters…

Outer character is more of your constructed self. Sort of like personal branding…Maybe you’re that dude who always wears a red fedora. Or the gal who’s obsessed with 50′s retro style. I’m known as a chocolate fanatic. What do people remember or know you for? What would you like it to be? You don’t have to take it over the top like Question Guy, but you do want to craft a persona that’s memorable and distinctive. Remember, it’s the characters we fall in love with…Your outer character includes physical appearance, personality, talking style, hobbies, and interests.

Extra bonus points when your inner character and outer character start to align and sync-up. If you’re going to be at SXSW, be sure to stop by my Core Conversation on Monday, March 12, where we’ll explore this topic in great detail including with some interactive exercises and dialogue.

Meet My Brother From Another Mother

Co-leading this session with me at SXSW, is my friend, performer, and storyteller extra-ordinaire Khalil Ashanti.

Khalil is a true character

When I think of character, I think of Khalil.  Khalil has spent his career into two places whose values don’t often align: the US Air Force and Hollywood. As a performer and a soldier, Khalil’s learned how to inhabit different characters and wear lots of different hats.  His one-man show, Basic Training, is about his life as an Air Force performer, and has received a whole slew of awards, including a New York Times Critics Pick. His show’s even been optioned by HBO. And in his spare time, he’s a character performer for Cirque de Soleil. Khalil is a character of the first order, and when he and I get together – crazy things start to happen.

So if you’re at SXSW, come check out the Core Conversation, “Character Building as An Attention Magnet”, on Monday, March 12 at the Sheraton on Capitol View North.  The session will be interactive, fun, and full of character. If you’re at SXSW but can’t make the session, drop me a line @getstoried on Twitter.  I’d love to meet up and chat.

What Sort of Character Are You?

Post your thoughts in the comments below. How would you describe the most memorable aspect of your character?


Join us for StoryU Online: Undeniable Story — an 8-week program where you learn our six-step storytelling framework. Begins Oct 6!

  • http://garydobbs.com Gary Bryan Dobbs

    Michael! You’re ability to put the career landscape into perspective really holds true to me as I’ve been working on entrepreneurship. Resume to Bio to Superhero Storytelling to Entrepreneur to Brand has resonated with me and helped simplify what has been a complex puzzle to me. So thank you from my head, heart, and hands B-)