Know your nouns and anchor your adjectives


On-air sign and headphones -


By Rob Wozny, SCMP

As I continue my progression from the corporate world back into the entrepreneurial world, I’m participating in more interviews with content creators for their podcasts and other online platforms. While I’m grateful for the opportunity to be of service, sharing my experience, I’ll admit, I’m a rusty interviewee. However, like any other business storytelling tactic, interviews take practice, and I have found one tip especially helpful in delivering messages.

When working with leaders and their teams to tell their stories, either through their own “media network” or the mainstream media, we work on developing their messages with my 3-point messaging structure covered in greater detail in Storytelling for Business. What I’m also finding from personal interview experience, and from client feedback, along with listening to a number of business podcasts as of late, is how essential it is to know your nouns and anchor your adjectives.

Here's what I mean. How many times have you had a conversation with someone and struggled to find that right word to describe something you’re trying to say? How about when you listen to a podcast or a media interview? Now that I’m aware of it, I’m hearing that challenge for interviewees to find those right words at the right times. Like I said, present company included! What I’m finding beneficial is, in addition to creating your three to five key messages, is to also identify the descriptor words and definitions that bring to life what you’re talking about.

For example, I’ve lost count now how many times I’ve heard the following question during interviews: “if you could describe _____ in one word, what would that be?” Another example might be If you’re talking about one of your products—know your nouns to define the benefits and anchor your adjectives to describe how it will make lives easier for people who use them. “We make acme widgets designed specifically for heavy machinery, producing optimal engine performance for the harshest outdoor climate conditions possible.”

Simply planting your nouns and adjectives into your stream of consciousness before interviews helps eliminate the “what’s that word for _________ again?" and improves your ability to know the right words at the right time… Know your nouns and anchor your adjectives.