Writing coach Rhonda Salvestrini helps corporate executives tell authentic, transformative stories.
You've worked as a writing coach for 25 years now. Over that time, what have you seen change when it comes to how people tell their stories?
People have become more authentic in their storytelling, more transparent, more intentional.
Storytelling is about informing, educating, and inspiring our audience while sharing our experience in that arena; it’s how we connect with one another. Storytelling has transformed into a way to build trust with our audience, and cultivate organic and genuine conversations. We’re human. We want to relate to others and share a bond, and I believe storytelling has allowed us the window in which to do that with different audiences.
How has your career changed as digital publishing has grown?
Digital publishing is such a gift! We now have the capability to converse with a larger audience because of a digital platform. My career has evolved to include understanding and teaching SEO and keyword optimization to learn how to write for Google. My clients have to be intentional about their audience as well as Google to ensure they remain the authority in their industry and the key influencer for their audience.
Additionally, digital publishing has allowed more authors to self-publish, to create their own journey into the world of book writing without having to rely on publishers or publicists. It’s given my clients a newfound freedom to write bravely and fearlessly to connect with their audience on a larger scale and to set their own path of being a published author.
On the internet, there's a lot of talk about needing to be authentic, responding in real-time, and more. Given this atmosphere, why should executives still consider investing in ghostwriting?
Executives are consumed with other priorities, so it’s important that they have an advocate or partner who can transform their voice into content that resonates with a particular audience, building a narrative that successfully speaks on the subjects that must be shared.
Additionally, I believe many executives are still grasping the concept of authentic communication and transparency in their business. A ghostwriter enables them to share their words more thoughtfully and meaningfully to meet their audience accordingly and absorb their message effectively.
Where do you think executives struggle most with their own writing?
I think this goes back to the previous questions in that executives are still learning how to be authentic and transparent when it comes to talking to their audience. For so long they’ve been taught to only communicate essential information rather than opening up the doors of conversation. Allowing themselves the space to listen to their audience and respond thoughtfully is still something that executives struggle with, along with the vulnerability of putting words on a page. That can be a frightening feat for an executive – they feel like they have a lot at stake in terms of what they communicate and how they do it.
You're now on the Editorial Board of The Principal Post. What excited you about working with us, and what do you hope you'll bring to this new company?
Truth in information is difficult to obtain in today’s “right-now” world, with so many opinions and judgments flooding our news feeds. The Principal Post is changing that dynamic to ensure honest reporting and reputation protection prevails for individuals, while also celebrating accomplishments for people.
Navigating integrity in reporting is what excites me about working with The Principal Post; knowing that I can help set the record straight, get the truth out for someone and serve as a channel to ensure their story is told accurately.
Words matter! Use them wisely, use them carefully, use them to make a difference in someone else's world.
Executive thought leadership is not just for branding. In a 2018 survey from LinkedIn and Edelman, 60% of business decision-makers said that thought leadership had convinced them to purchase a product or service they hadn't been considering before.