Photo Credit: Elizabeth Robertson / Inquirer Staff Photographer
Not all heroes wear capes. Sometimes, they wear a blazer and carry a stopwatch.
I don’t know how this recent Inquirer story about the woman who ensures that 200 women get to the bathroom in a 20-minute intermission during the smash-hit Hamilton run here in Philly came about, but it is delightful. There are so many elements here that make this a great read, with lessons for how communicators can tell a story.
First, this is a relatable human experience for more than 50 percent of the population. I don’t know a single woman who has not had to wait in an exceedingly long line for the ladies room at a sporting event, concert or other form of entertainment. When you read this article you get the feeling of being right there, nervously groaning along with these ladies, feeling the stress of whether they are going to miss any of the second act.
The story conveys a sense of community: They are all in this together, fighting to beat the intermission clock. When you or a client have a story to tell, think about whether there is a common shared experience that your audience members may find themselves in, or care about, to connect with your topic.
Second, it is very interesting to me that the base of this story is actually about something that could be construed as a negative for the venue – but that’s not where the reader focuses. The Forrest Theater is beautiful and historic, but a show as popular as Hamilton is bound to draw an audience that pushes its size limits. It just is what it is. At Hamilton, everyone is just thrilled to be there.
And the takeaway for me is that they found a solution. People know there will be challenges or problems with anything, but if you can communicate, and let them know that you’re listening and working toward a solution, that can make all the difference.
Finally, we have someone to root for here – the hero of the story, usher Tanya Heath (@livetheshowtyme). She saw a problem, took it upon herself to create a solution and made the show successful from behind the scenes.
And it gets better: She has a personal story connected to the show she is supporting. She auditioned for Hamilton. Not only do you appreciate what she is doing for the audience, but you feel invested in her personally. It just goes to show that putting people front and center in your communications and storytelling strategies is always good practice.
I don’t think I will be seeing Hamilton before its run ends in Philadelphia, but I got to imagine I was there – if only in line for the bathroom. Kudos to @esilverman11 for a terrific story.