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Don Hewitt Had It Right

  • Friday, August 21, 2009
  • Jim Sanders
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I was saddened to hear of Don Hewitt's passing this week.  60 Minutes has been a staple in our home as long as I can remember.  His thumbprint is all over that broadcast, and just this week I understood why it is such a powerful broadcast tool that's lasted these four decades.

In a retrospective piece shot just a few years ago, the interviewer asked Hewitt to explain his success.

"It's simple," he said. "Every kid knows it.  Just four words: Tell me a story."

Tell me a story!  He was exactly right, of course.  No television program does a better job of that than 60 Minutes. 

Every powerful message is communicated via a powerful story.  Strong leaders motivate their employees by telling strong stories.  Moving messages are most potent when they're wrapped in moving stories.

A million years ago, I recall watching Dr. James Dobson's first film series, "Focus on the Family."  His poignant messages were riveting.  They delivered some very simple principles in an engaging way.

When I sat back long enough to evaluate why the films were so popular, it was clear.  Dr. Dobson had just a few points to make but wrapped each one in engaging stories which well illustrated those points.

We learn this lesson early!  Young kids seem to gravitate to the same story book for bedtime reading, over and over again! 

How we love stories! 

They're powerful, complicated, touch our deep feelings and can say so much more than the words used to tell them.

Yes, Don Hewitt had it right. 

How much MORE right for us to use stories to tell the greatest story ever told. 

Tell me a story.

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