I love this 3 minute video from colleague Shawn Callahan -- because I often find my self in the same situation.
Like Shawn, I can't tell you how many times I walk into an organization where they proudly show/tell me their stories -- and they are NOT stories!!
Ay yi yi. Callahan explains in this video what a story is. Yeah!
And if you want even more fine tuning, go grab the free download on my website that colleague Lori Silverman and I wrote that demonstrates what a story is -- and how it morphs into different forms like an anecdote, case study, news article, testimonial, etc. Here's the link: http://www.juststoryit.com/story-resources.htm The document is called "Narrative Forms".
The first fundamental of storytelling is: know what a story it. Check out the quick video and don't make the mistake so many businesses make.
Now he is tackling how to make business storytelling short, sweet, and to the point. It's geared towards leaders but anyone will benefit from watching this. Apply these lessons to marketing, branding, content creation, and sales, too.
So sit back and enjoy. I know it is going to be well worth it. If I find it isn't, I'll come back and rewrite this review!
Can you share a digital story and have it go viral?
Maybe yes, maybe no. To help us figure this out is a new tool that analyzes videos that have gone viral, determines the elements that made it go viral, and share the results with us. Along with a whole bunch of analytics.
I took a brief look at the app and played with it a bit. And I think it is really cool.
I chose the characteristics I was looking for in a viral video and then an example popped up so I could watch it. And learn. And gain some ideas/inspiration. Pretty neat.
And I got a total kick out of the (Welcome to) The Motherhood video!
Don't know if this tool will really result in a better ability to make viral videos, but I certainly think it will help. Go play. Have fun. Your next video just may go viral!
I love this quick video from org story colleague Shawn Callahan in Australia.
Here he explains about starting a story with a relevance statement -- which properly frames the story and gets the audience engaged.
This is critical to understand for any kind of business storytelling.
And then surprise -- when this video ends it leads right into the next video tip which is NEVER start a story by telling someone you are going to tell them a story. Music to my ears. That's a habit I often need to break with my coaching clients. Callahan explains why.
So go watch these short videos with short tips to really improve your biz storytelling!
Hey Leaders! Listening Isn't Easy, But It's Essential Information Management (blog) However, in working with leaders at all levels striving to strengthen their performance, listening skills aren't an issue some of the time; they are an issue nearly...
Karen Dietz's insight:
Periodically I run across an article about listening skills that is really good. This is one -- and can apply to anyone.
Effective or deep listening is the FIRST skill to build in effective storytelling. Leaders are particularly prone to focus on "telling" and not listening.
I like how this article talks about listening and the traps we fall into. And I like the practical advice offered, along with a fun exercise to do to hone your listening skills.
I'm in a workshop all week but am going to do the activity today to see what I can learn! Should be fun :)
"To truly give voice to your story in a way that feels right for yourself and your business, you need the following ingredients which if you’ll notice, these tips can also be adapted to help you live a more fulfilling and happier life:"
Karen Dietz's insight:
I LOVE this list -- because it is totally different than what you might expect from yet another article with a storytelling list!
Here the author Dorit Sasson focuses on YOUR relationship with the story you want to tell -- and how to get emotionally clear about it before you ever tell it.
Now why in the heck is this important? Because stories are all about conveying emotion and engaging emotions along the way to delivering a key message and meaning.
But if you are not clear about your emotional connection to the story, chances are you will flop when sharing it. You won't connect to your audience.
So go grab this list. Check off what you can. Work on what you need to. Get way better at storytelling.
It's no secret that good leaders are also good communicators. And the best leaders have learned that effective communication is as much about authenticity as the words they speak and write.
Karen Dietz's insight:
Here's a quick article with very good advice. It's not about story structure, or the elements of a compelling story. It is instead all the things you need to think about BEFORE you launch into a story.
Like -- does your story match your actions? Or is there some misalignment there.
Are your stories making the complex simple -- or are they still too convoluted with details and side-tracks?
This article applies whether you are a leader in an enterprise, or a small biz owner.
And I love that the article ends with a focus on listening -- which is truly the heart of great storytelling!
"Being of a slightly contrarian frame of mind, however, I think it’s important that we remind ourselves that stories do have limits, and excessive reliance on them can weaken our persuasive efforts, especially when our listeners start probing a little deeper to find the real truth behind them."
I like how the author Jack Malcolm starts out his blog. Yes, stories can be deceptive just like any other form of communication.
And I agree with his first point: they may be untrue or exaggerated.
After that however, I put my cranky pants on.
The next point advocates is that stories are ALWAYS incomplete; that nuance and complexity get in the way of a good story.
Balderdash I say!! What about the creation of rich media,layered meanings, and multiple interpretations?
The next point is equally problematic: stories may be true, but insufficient; that the more vivid and compelling a story, the more it can mislead because the listener focuses in on the details instead of the larger picture.
Aaaarrrgghh! All that says to me is that when that happens, the teller is not that skilled in storytelling and the crafting of co-created meanings which speak to a larger picture.
Bottom line for all of us?Keep learning the craft of storytelling.Know how to layer multiple meanings into your biz stories when needed. Keep drawing out the bigger picture in your stories when needed. And be authentic.
I love this piece because of the question it asks! We get so focused on the doing doing doing of storytelling in our business, we rarely step back and ask ourselves, "How do I know I'm getting better at storytelling?"
This article comes from my colleague Limor Shiponi in Israel. Limor is one of the deep thinkers on the planet about storytelling and I highly prize her insights. It has been way too long since we've chatted and I miss hearing her magical voice and articulate thinking. In the meantime, I am delighted to share this piece with you.
Usually, if we are getting results in our business, we are happy. But if we don't periodically ask ourselves the question, "How will I know I have become a better storyteller?" our results -- when they fade (the normal ups and downs of business cycles) -- may be due our storytelling skills or something entirely different.
If you are not clear on how you'll know when you've become a better storyteller, in a down cycle you may start fixing the wrong things. Maybe your storytelling skills are fabulous but your marketing process is inconsistent. Maybe your marketing is awesome and your storytelling sucks. Without asking and paying attention to the question this article poses, you'll never know where to place your attention.
I ran across this article about 2 weeks ago and really took the time to ask myself this question. I came up with an answer and kept testing it out to make sure it was real. Here's my answer:
I know I will have become a better storyteller when I continually feel that resonance between me and my audience, and when people connect with me after they have heard one of my stories. I physically experience this band of gold and silver resonant energy linking me and my listeners together.
That's not very flowery language, but it does the trick for me. I can see several images in my minds eye of what this looks and feels like.
Now my experience can happen face-to-face or electronically. But of course, the best way to know if I've become a better storyteller is through live interaction. So practice practice practice your business stories with real people to build your skills and effectiveness.
OK -- that's me. Now it is your turn. How will you know you have become a better storyteller? What does that look and feel like for you?
Social Media Marketing Podcast 008: In this episode Derek Halpern talks about how the power of persuasion moves people to action.
No doubt about it -- the toughest part in crafting effective business stories is the ending.
In other words -- your key message along with the words and phrases you use at the end to move people to action. That is the point of business stories, isn't it?
We all need help with this and it is not all that easy to do. So while this article and podcast doesn't have stories or storytelling in its title or text, it is undeniably about business narratives -- and how to have them work for you.
Just keep it authentic folks. It is easy to turn storytelling into manipulation. It's a fine line to walk. So pay attention to that dynamic and keep trying to do your best.
Read this post, listen to the podcast, and keep mastering how to (authentically) move people to action with your stories.
Storycode is a non-profit community hub for independent cross-platform storytellers and an incubator for their projects. We are proud to host a community of creators who share their projects in great detail. Our creators share both successes and missteps in their process with a candor that members find invaluable. StoryCode documents these process-driven presentations, serving as a repository of cross-media project case studies.
Oh, no -- what a missed opportunity! And full of irony, to boot!!
When I stumbled on this page by Storycode (an organization devoted to immersive storytelling) and their page of case studies I thought, "Oh goody! Cool stories about cool story projects!"
Then I read the case studies and was so disappointed. I had to keep drinking my coffee to stay awake while plowing through the descriptions -- not stories! -- of these amazing interactive story projects. Hence the irony.
I was sooooooo disappointed! What's the take-away here?
Well first, go check out the videos of these really interesting/fun interactive storytelling projects. Think about ways you can use these ideas and tools in your biz storytelling. And hang out with their community.
Second, please please please don't get stuck thinking there's a model for case studies to follow that is as boring as these.
Third, write storied case studies that share experiences and engage the reader. Or don't use case studies at all and just tell the story about the project. There is nothing sacred about case studies.
Storycode is doing great work out there in the world. If you want to hang out with a community devoted to immersive interactive storytelling, then check them out.
What we say matters a great deal, but so does what we don’t say. There are times when you just can’t afford to clam up when called upon to contribute.
I love that this article is approaching storytelling skills from the field of improv -- because we receive a couple of good (maybe new) insights.
Like "whatever makes a memory a memory makes it interesting" and "know when to hold back."
Many of these are good common sense rules that can often be forgotten. And I just like that even though when you read closely, a lot of this material sounds familiar, the voice from the improv world makes me think about some of these tips in different ways. That is always a good thing!
Oh, and BTW -- it is hard to find good articles on story TELLING skills. There is always tons of stuff on story structure and story crafting. But live storytelling skills -- not so much. Another reason I doubly appreciate this article!
Most writers neglect the power of a story to captivate their audience immediately ...
This is a quick article with several key messages. But the one that strikes me is that when crafting a story, the most interesting beginning that gets reader's hooked, is often found in the middle of the story.
So true! And I love the example he uses to demonstrate this tip.
Beginnings and endings of stories are always hard for those new to storytelling. Even veteran storytellers could benefit from the author's tip here.
Think about your stories -- do they need an upgrade by exploring their middles and finding a more compelling opening?
Have you ever gotten lost in the pages of a good book? If so, you may have been more empathetic afterward. According to new research published in PLOS ONE, reading fiction may affect the reader’s empathetic skills over a period of time.
Karen Dietz's insight:
While this article focuses on reading, think of all the biz stories you tell in your content creation across platforms -- blogs, websites, emails, articles, presentations, videos, digital stories, and the like.
The results will be the same. And the research holds true for sharing stories in person, too.
It is fascinating that the more a listener is engage in a story, the more empathy grows over time. People become more empathetic through storytelling.
What's the take-away here for businesses? If you want emotional engagement and people feeling empathy towards you and your company, share stories.
But not any old story. Share stories with characters they can relate to. If they can't relate, no engagement, no empathy. And it must be told in a way that people can connect to. In other words, deliver a story badly and you won't get the engagement, empathy, or result you are seeking.
Leaders need to know this when sharing stories about values, vision, change efforts, etc. Marketers need to know this for brand loyalty. Small businesses and entrepreneurs need to know this for relationship sales.
This is a very short article with powerful points. Even better, there's a link to the original research so you can really get all the insights.
Guest post by Gregory Ciotti. When it comes to crafting words that sell, the research shows us that stories are ...
Karen Dietz's insight:
Awhile ago I curated the research & article by Dr. Phillip Mazzocco and Melanie Green about Persuasion in Legal Settings: What's the Story? where they talk about when a story persuades, and when it does not. Here's the link: http://www.scoop.it/t/just-story-it?q=legal+settings
Now here is an article -- based on their research -- that summarizes the 6 elements of better stories.
The article is written for bloggers but applies to us all. I particulary like elements 2 (realism), 3 (delivery), 4 (imagery), and 6 (context).
Delivery is learned through practice -- and working on your oral storytelling skills is critical whether you are writing your stories, or meeting with prospects/customers face-to-face. I like the examples of good delivery shared here.
I see a lot of articles about imagery as it relates to visual storytelling, but little about developing visual language skills (metaphors, analogies, etc.). There are some great tips here on story imagery.
And context is king. If you can't change your stories to suit the context you find yourself in, you are most likely dead in the water. I like what the author, Gregory Ciotti, says aboutcontext and buildilng trust.
So go grab the insights from this article and keep sharing/practicing your biz stories!
Why do we ever stop playing and creating? With charm and humor, celebrated Korean author Young-ha Kim invokes the world's greatest artists to urge you to unleash your inner child -- the artist who wanted to play forever.
Karen Dietz's insight:
What a fab video! I love how author Young-ha Kim talks about the origin of storytelling in kids, what happens to our creativity, why storytelling and creativity are important as adults, and how to get unstuck if we think we are not artists.
Anyone who tells stories (and we all do) is an artist. Kim links arts, storytelling, and play into one natural activity that we all engage in.
I've always said that storytelling is deep play. And we know it is both an art form and a science. Kim talks about what happens when our artistic side is not given expression, and what to do about it.
Why did I curate this? Because the more we can understand the creative and artistic nature of storytelling -- and its link to creativity studies, performance art, personal development, and innovation -- the better our stories become and the more influence we can build.
The video is in Korean with English subtitles that go by pretty quick. So you will need to watch and pay attention here.
But it is a delightful, insightful, and inspiring video that I know you will love.
Hey -- what a great example that Michael Harris has put together for us! Here are two examples -- one of a story used in sales that DID NOT work. In other words, no sale resulted.
In the second example we have a story that DOES work -- resulting in a sale.
If you are incorporating stories into your sales process, then this post is for you. We need more examples of what works and what does not work in order to refine our storytelling and grow our businesses.
Enjoy this post and I hope you get some good ideas for how to tweak your stories for better results!
I did not even know what this meant until I read this article by colleague Andrew Nemiccolo and listened to my colleague Shawn Callahan explain it.
Basically it is this -- not everything we hear is a story. And plenty of people are confused about this, as I can attest to in my own story work with clients.
Shawn offers us an activity that will get us to quickly understand the storied world we live in, and helps us know what a story is and is not.
Thans Andrew and Shawn for putting this together! I know I am going to use it with clients. And with myself too so I can continue to develop my story listening skills (those always need attention no matter how long you've been doing this work!).
Storytellers change their presentation style in different situations. What is suitable for an intimate venue, will not work as well in a large venue. What works for a circle of ten people, does not work in the same way for a circle of twenty-five. Even the hour of day, among many other things, might call for a different capacity or approach. Not everything is possible or fit for storytelling. Amplification might solve a volume issue but it doesn’t do much for intimacy. On the other hand there are situations where it does. The way to gain ‘elasticity’ that will enable a storyteller to adapt as needed, is by learning how to stretch and fold his own wings. It’s like learning how to diminish and increase sound in music. It’s not only changing the volume – the entire sound-production mechanism adapts.
[Image credit: brewbooks on Flickr]
Ahhh -- words of wisdom from one of my colleagues and favorite storytellers -- Llimor Shiponi. This post of hers is all about storytelling elasticity and the power of oral storytelling.
In this electronic age when digital storytelling is often viewed as THE SOLUTION -- this post is a reminder that oral storytelling is still the gold standard.
Want executive presence? Focus on building oral storytelling skills and sharing your stories in person as often as you can.
Want to increase business? Focus on building oral storytelling skills and sharing your stories in person as often as you can.
There's no substitute. Enjoy Limor's wise words of wisdom here!
And thank you Gregg Morris @greggvm for originally finding and sharing this article!
This piece came to me from my fellow curator Jan Gordon. She is an EXCELLENT curator and if you follow her curation it will help your business a lot.
What I really like about this piece is its basic question -- are you sharing your biz stories for messaging or for engagement? These are two very different activities and will generate different results for your business.
Read Jan's excellent review below, read Brian Solis' article, and start shifting your storytelling so you can achieve better business results!
This wonderful piece was written by Brian Solis and as always, he captured the essence of what's needed to move your content to the next level, where your audience becomes an active participant. This is where relationships and communities are built, brand advocates, word of mouth and commerce follows if this is done right.
Here's what caught my attention:
Social Producers are the new storytellers
**To thrive in social, mobile and new media in general, we need much more than content producers, we need a new breed of designers that grasp the elements of online sharing and have mastered the ART of social media
**They know how to trigger desirable (and social) actions, reactions and transactions
**A new genre of social producers are taking aim at developing content strategies that are not only consumable, they're shareable, actionable and act as catalysts or sparks for relevant conversations.
**These social producers are in fact masters of their domains and understand the culture and the laws of information commerce within each
The difference between Social Producers and traditional contentcreators is they begin with social outcomes
**they understand the relationship between cause and effect and they bake-in conversation starters related to an integrated and business-focused strategy
**Social producers think about the overall experience and the effect where a social object is at the center of the dialogue and interaction they envision....within each network
**The overall story and outcome defines the nature of the social object.
**Beyond shareability, the social producers also think about resonance. Conversations on social networks move quickly.
**What was trending an hour ago gives way to the next social object that captures everyone's attention until that too is replaced by the next shiny object and so on.
**Resonance is a technique that allows a social objectto enjoy a greater lifespan and continue to swim upstream while other content strategies wash away in real-time.
**As you think about your content strategy for social networks, do so from the perspective of a social producer.
**While the social effect is certainly a goal, the social effect is also the result of social design.
**In the end, people are going to talk, so give them something to talk about!
"While not all agree, let's suppose, for a moment, that we are, in fact, presenting through our contemporary storytelling a relatively narrow range of the American experience. Some of the questions we ought to be asking are, is it enough to maintain the same formats, as we have, and try to entice more/different storytellers? Do we need to expand our awareness in some way to consider more broadly the particulars of this time, this particular space, and who is involved? And, fundamentally, what is it going to take to go further, to do more?"
Now here is a very thought-provoking piece about storytelling in general. I've curated it because the more businesses understand the craft of storytelling, the more effective we can be.
Warning -- there is such rich material here -- along with fabulous video examples to watch -- that you will need to carve out some time to explore everything here.
And hey -- we all live in a culture surrounded by media. It is important to keep up with shifts and changes in technology and its impact on storytelling so we can understand our daily life better -- and the opportunities open to us.
What is the biggest shift technolgy brings?Ethnographic storytelling. What the heck is that? It is when you put the camera and the storytelling into the hands of people to create and tell their story. Nothing new here -- this was pioneered by Anthropologists Sol Worth & John Adair in the 1972 book Through Navajo Eyes.The article contains several examples.
What is new is that now technology makes the ability to share our stories very easy and cheap to do -- through a proliferation of channels to share them. THAT is what is getting reinvented -- not the structure of a good story.
And technology is bringing us unique and very creative ways to craft our stories. For example, there's a link within this article to "How the Indie Audio Community Is Transforming Storytelling," This article shares a story where audio is dominant. It is great.
Other examples in the article include Localore -- a project about place-based storytelling.
What do I like about this article and the links to other articles within this piece? It asks essential questions like:
Who gets to tell the story?
Who gets to ask the question that begins the story?
What is the question?
When businesses and organizations start asking themselves these questions FIRST when wanting to tell a digital story, they focus on the story first. Too many people in my experience -- when wanting to tell a digital story -- get caught up in the technology first and end up spending tons of money with unhappy results. Or they think the story will emerge if they just start talking - to be edited down by the videographer into a story -- with the same unhappy results.
So read this article, its links to other articles, explore the digital story examples given, and start figuring out the following:
How can I have my customers share their stories about my organization using ethnographic storytelling?
How can I leverage audio storytelling (see the article for info/examples) beyond radio & podcasts?
How can I leverage location & physical space to share biz stories?
How can I creatively use technology to share biz stories that reflect my/our Unique Voice & Unique Proposition?
I could comment at length on this article and its links. It has taken me awhile to curate this piece because I kept going back and dipping in for more.
So give yourself time to enjoy this creative romp exploring cutting edge electronic storytelling and all the deep insights here!
The best way for a leader to persuade people to accept a counterintuitive health message is to craft a compelling narrative.
What a great story and insights this article contains. With lessons for us all in leadership, marketing, and social change.
Here is Kenneth Lin, a leader in public health, who shares his story of resigning his position because of clashing narratives. And his frustration with the truth narrative losing out. But he doesn't give up. He keeps going, and shares his insights about grand narratives, leadership, and perseverence with us.
For example -- are you telling micro or macro narratives? If you are telling micro narratives and expecting social change, it won't happen.
And how do you share a narrative that counters people's beliefswhen those beliefs contain inaccurate assumptions? Every leader and social change agent wants to know the answer to that one.
Lin might not solve all of these problems in this blog post, but his insights about leadership, stories, and social change are worth the read and give us hope when meeting roadblocks.
Questions are the expressive, probing language for growing others; listening is the receptive, facilitating language for growing others. These two complementary approaches form a continuous growth conversation loop.
Leaders who are helping others to grow and innovate are always trying to craft the best questions to make a difference. Here's how to ask the questions that will propel your team and your organization forward.
Listening -- I mean listening really well -- is sometimes hard to do. Here's a great article by Kevin Cashman, author of The Pause Principle, reminding us that the more deeply and authentically we can listen to another, the deeper our questions go, and the deeper our understanding becomes.
Listening deeply is the first storytelling skill to build -- so you know which story to share or ask for. And then so you can dig more deeply into the story to understand what it really means.
For leaders, this is essential. For anyone wanting to master business storytelling, it is critical. Many marketing and branding folks have still not caught on to listening as being a vital component when using stories.
Sooooo -- here's a reminder that also contains some great insights, a list of what not to do, and a nice section on the power of authentic questions.
Now I'll go on a hunt and see if I can find an article for you just on the Art of the Question. For as they say in Appreciative Inquiry, the question is the intervention -- so knowing how to craft and ask the question is key.
That's another thing that, like story structure, isn't negotiable. ****. Interested in seeing if your story plan is solid? Or if your draft works as well as it could? If your story physics are optimized or lobotomized?
I don't often review articles from fiction or screenplay writers because it is too difficult to translate their insights about stories into the business world without a lot of work. Until now. I love what this author Larry Brooks did -- distinguish between story STRUCTURE and story STRATEGY.
As he points out, the structure of a story is pretty well set. Authors and storytellers know the structure, follow the structure, and there is not too much more to say about it. As friend and story colleague Doug Lipman once said to me, "Focusing only on structure does not build storytelling skills."
The author here makes the same point by distinguishing between story structure and story strategy. And it's the strategy of how you are going to share a story where there is infinite creativity. Yes!
The examples shared illustrate Brooks' points very well. Enjoy this piece and how it can clarify your work.