John Sutter says all of us are geared to help, and the responses to the Boston bombings show that.
Karen Dietz's insight:
The Mister Rogers quote about 'look for the helpers' has gone viral in response to the bombings in Boston. But a missing piece of his message is not making the rounds.
I'm on the road now working with clients. Well, this morning in my hotel I was listening to CNN Headline News while cycling through emails. I perked up when they ran the video clip of Mister Rogers where he shares words of wisdom from his mom.
Yes, it is about helpers. But what all the other tweets and video clips show is only the beginning of the story. There is an even more important message that Mister Rogers conveys!!
I really like the clip shared here by CNN because it also talks about how the media can share more rounded stories. In the hunt for heroes (because we are slaves to the Hero's Journey), we often forget about sharing stories with the frame of 'community.' Telling the story of helpers and the individual stories of helpers helps us know and understand the power of community.
Should I tell you the end of the Mister Rogers quote/story?
Nope -- I won't spoil it for you. Watch the video -- it's short -- and get the powerful key message Mister Rogers wants to share with us all.
I asked Letitia to tell me about her work, which she does in the first part of the video. I then asked her to tell me a story about the difference Canine Colors has made to a client. She responded by telling me the story in the second part of the video.
Notice the difference in the two presentations.
Karen Dietz's insight:
Story professional David Lee once again shows us before and after examples of how a story can really improve a business's ability to connect with customers/prospects that results in growth.
And thanks to Letitia Fox of Canine Colors for being the guinea pig.
David shares a video of Letitia talking about her business at a conference. It's very conceptual and what most business owners do.
He then asks her for a story and everthing changes.
Now remember -- as you watch these videos -- they are both spontaneous expressions. They are raw.
Then David in his article points out additional improvements Letitia can make to share a more compelling story.
I bet you'll get aditional ideas for what Letitia can do -- and how you can improve your own storytelling.
Thanks David -- we all love these kinds of examples because they are so helpful.
So we have all heard time and time again, "to attract links you need to build great content". But very few actually talk about what good content looks like. That's because good content can come in many different forms.
Here's an article by Joe Hall that very clearly explains why content on a website gets ignored. And they are all story principles!
Keep this list handy and make sure when you are creating content -- any kind of content whether it be a blog post or a brochure -- that you include a well written title, has a unique voice, contrast, a focused key message, etc.
The #1 trait of a persuasive story is how “engaging” the story is.
There are a million writing blogs that will go on and on about how to craft amazing stories, but is any of that (potentially good) advice backed up by research? In fact, there is an additional study conducted by Green & Brock that addresses just what makes a story engaging. Here’s what they found:
Wow!! My entire review just disappeared! Well -- go read this great article anyway :)
Here is what to pay attention to: all the solid tips -- based on research -- on how to create better stories. They are great. Particularly modeling, irony, imagery, and going beyond the digital campfire. There's lots more to this article that what I have mentioned here.
So go read it. In the meantime, I'll chat with the Internet Powers That Be to hunt for the original review I wrote in whatever black hole it has found itself in! Ay yi yi ....
It all began as a simple idea: sitting down face-to-face with some of the best minds in the world of advertising, asking for their perspectives on the relationship of music and sound to brands and marketing.
Now here is an unusual but totally thought-provoking article on how music is critical to the art of branding.
How did this article end up here in this content about biz storytelling? Very simply -- because telling a compelling story is all about feeding sensory material (the language of the senses) to your audience: sights, sounds, tastes, tacticle sensations, and smells. Music can be a key ingredient if used wisely. This is becoming more critical in branding efforts in the age of the Internet.
This article clearly lays out the whys and wherefors about the role of music in branding. Link music into your biz stories that you share online or in presentations and you've got a double whammy working together for even more power. It's called 'audio branding.'
As the article says, "We have a tremendous ability to remember music. Songs from our adolescence make a deep emotional connection. Years later, we instantly recall the context of when we first heard them."
Enjoy reading about audio branding and understanding the link to brand storytelling.
Phoenix ad pro Park Howell share his simple and fun exercise to help you craft more sustainable and compelling stories to sell your green marketing, product or service.
Here's a downloadable worksheet that promises to help you tell better stories. It's from a marketing/advertising perspective, so it is not your usual 'story structure' or 'story elements' checklist.
The article is not about sustainable storytelling, however. In my book, sustainable storytelling is all about the structures + processes that an organization puts in place to find, gather, craft, and share their stories as a core business activity.
The post is about finding and crafting your biz stories.
And the article includes directions for how to complete the worksheet. I've looked it over and will try it. In the meantime, give it a go and I'd love to hear your thoughts.
PS -- the comments to the blog post are good reading too!
I have finally added a list of my favorite biz story books to my website that you can now access and explore yourself. There are 26 all total!
These books are the best I've found that will help you build practical storytelling skills, and make us all smarter about business narratives. I've added little reviews for each book explaining why I like it.
The books include everything from conducting narrative research within organizations, how leaders can use storytelling, stories in marketing/branding, how to use stories for change and transformation, and using stories for break-through communication.
The books include many business examples, processes, and how-to steps. I hope they prove useful for you. Enjoy!
PS -- and let me know if you have recommendations!
Traditional advertising can get lost in the daily media blitz. Give people what they really love: stories.
Yes, absolutely. I like this article because it covers all of the 'why' questions -- about why you would use case studies. These are really good points showing how they are a powerful marketing tool.
The author then shares the 'rules' to follow to create your case study. Well, they are OK as far is it goes. But here are the critical rules that were left out:
Add sensory material (the language of the senses)
Use conversational language -- avoid business speak!
If you miss including these three rules, you will create case studies that are dry dry dry as toast and as boring as watching grass grow. And frankly, boring case studies are the norm in business. I deal with this every single time with my clients.
So follow these 'rules', but make your case studies come alive as stories using all the storytelling tools available to you. That's the way to stay out of the quicksand and bring more customers knocking on your door.
A best-selling Swedish writer moves to Africa and learns to listen.
My good friend and story buddy Patti Christiansen sent me this lovely article about storytelling, listening, and story culture in Africa that all pertains to our business stories.
I included it here for several reasons: in the hype about 'new ways of telling stories' and 'transmedia storytelling' we are reminded again that our western view of stories is only one of many. And that traditional cultures have volumes to teach us about 'new' ways of storytelling.
For example, "If we are capable of listening, we’re going to discover that many African narratives have completely different structures than we’re used to."
And "Sometimes they have three or four stories running in parallel."
There are nuggets of truth here about business storytelling for us all to remember:listening, story sharing,knowledge transfer, thecreation of meaning, and ideas about story structure, multiple story threads, and silence. Think about how the truths shared in this article apply to your blogging, social media work, engaging with customer stories, plus crafting and sharing your own business stories.
Many articles on these topics are included here in this body of curated content. Yet how many times in our lives have we heard a truth and say "Yeah yeah, I know that." But when we hear the same ideas presented in a different way, all of a sudden we 'get it' beyond our original understanding.
I hope this article, because it is so different than others you will find here, will give you some additional "ah hah's."
First Versus Third Person Narrative: Theories on Writing Bios for Fashion Businesses. by annchingwang on Sep 30, 2011 • 2:54 pm 2 Comments. I study marketing and art equally. So something I've always wondered, as I am trying to infuse ...
If you've ever struggled with which voice to use when writing your bio, this article will set you strait. This is a great article that clearly articulates the different benefits between 1st and 3rd person narrative voice when writing your bio or About page. The author definitely favors using 1st person and tells you why (just forget he's targeting fashion -- the rules apply to all of us).
You bio or About page is about you. It should be in your voice. Read this article to know when and how you should be using 1st person, and gain some ideas about better ways to write your bio.
A Polaroid camera is nothing more than bookshelf eye candy if you don't have the magical film to go with it. Which is why The Impossible Project pulle...
Karen Dietz's insight:
Here is a little bit of inspiration for your Friday.
It's all about how a couple of crazy guys bought the last Polaroid film factory so that 300 million cameras around the globe could still be used.
Now how different is that?! And they succeeded, and are successful. It's a terrific little story.
Other than for your own inspiration, how could you use this story? How about when talking with teams about thinking outside the box. Or when working with executives about hidden market opportunities. Or anytime you are dealing with the principles of creativity and innovation. Just a few ideas :)
Use this seven-step process to develop and tell a business anecdote that will you help close the deal.
If you are still struggling with your biz stories, then use this method. It starts from getting clear on the key message first, and then working backward. That is the most effective way to craft business stories, and the one I find most useful when working with clients.
If you are stuck -- try this -- you'll like it!
Now, what is a key message? It is the main point of the story. It is the message you want to leave people with that will help move them to action, to inspire them to do something different. Think deeply about your key message when crafting your story -- the clarity you create here will make the rest of the process very easy.
Oh yeah -- and don't forget -- sometimes as you work on your story the key message you thought was the right one can change and morph. Don't worry -- that's part of the process. Storytelling is an iterative process, so just keep working it and letting your biz story unfold into a dynamite piece!
We use web browsers every day and don’t really think about them until something goes wrong. Google Chrome crashed on me the other day and I got the iconic “Aw, Snap!” page with the unhappy folder icon. Instead of being cross at the error, it made me smile, and I was more forgiving of the browser for crashing. This is an example of how personality can engage customers’ emotions and help them build a stronger relationship with your brand.
What a great article! It is all about the risks and rewards of developing your brand with personality.
Why should you bother? Because once again, it is all about emotionally connecting with your customers/prospects. It is giving them an experience. It is using the 'character' story element for creating effective biz stories to the max.
The authors give terrific examples and lay out for us step-by-step the reasons and actions to take for developing a brand personality.
Oh, and BTW -- it is not about creating a veneer or fakepersonality just to make sales. It truly is all about the authentic YOU.
Enjoy reading this post. I think you will find it enormously helpful as you continue to craft the personality of your business.
Do you know why you make the products or offer the services you do? Too often I find that companies don't have a clear enough sense of why they do what they do.
Oh, this is so true! Let me explain first why I like this article. Then I'll explain how it fits into business storytelling.
I like this article because once again, we are being reminded that people buy the WHY not the 'what.'
The author does an excellent job in explaining how understanding the 'why' is extremely important in innovation -- and every business no matter how small or big, needs to be constantly scanning for the next incremental or major innovation to bring to its customers and the marketplace.
The best idea in this article comes from the notion of 'core insights' that are complementary (and essential) to 'core competence'.
Now here's the link to biz storytelling. Once you understand about 'core insights' by reading this article, your next question will be -- "So how do I get those core insights?!"
Voila -- through listening to your customer's stories in story gathering sessions. And through listening to your staff's stories that they share about the products/services you offer and their stories about customers.
This article doesn't make that link, but I hope that the concept of 'core insights' coupled with the technique of story listening/gathering will bring you plenty of material to keep you competitive!
This story inspired Rosa to believe in the product, and she passed her belief on to her customers as she repeated it to them. After Rosa told her story at a loan officers meeting, credit life sales went through the roof.
Here's what I like about this article: it explains exactly why sharing stories in the sales processbrings sales.
Once you understand the 'why', it's much easier to start doing the 'how'. There are tons of articles in this collection to help you with the 'how' if you have questions. Just go up to the Tags tab above and select 'storycrafting'. You will find all you need.
If you need more ideas about what types of stories to use and when during the sales cycle, select the Tag 'sales' for more info.
Enjoy this post and the results you will receive by sharing stories!
Thanking the prospect puts you in a weak position for selling. Learn why thank you, is the wrong way to go for a win, and what you can do instead.
When I first read this title, I'm going, "Jeez, so now presentations are competitive!?" Then I read that this is about SALES and I go, "OK, let's see where this goes."
Here's the bottom line and how it connects with biz storytelling: the article helps us craft much better endings. Crafting compelling endings that inspire action are HARD. This article talks about what most of us do -- thanking our audience at the end of our presentations. Even if we are not giving sales presentations, this is what we do and it is not effective.
This article very clearly explains why. And I really like the questions posed in this article because they really help anyone crafting certain biz stories to focus the story on your customer. In founding stories, focusing on yourself is OK, and eventually you want to shift the story over to focusing on the customer. You can adapt these questions to hep you do that.
Then read the comments to the article -- there's gold there too!
tutorials | lynda.com...by LA Times Journalist Richard Koci Hernandez
This is so cool -- using your phone to take photos and then putting them together to create stories to share. Imagine how much fun this could be for a business -- and be really cool marketing.
The intro video is well worth watching. This is as series of video tutorials by LA Times photographer and journalist Richard K. Hernandez to teach you how to do great photography via your phone, use apps for editing, and then creating a story to share. He's ditched all of his other equipment and just uses his iphone now.
Now here's the bad news -- to get the rest of the tutorials it will cost you $25 for a monthly subscription.
But I'm going to do it because I think it will be worth it. Initially I thought -- geez, why bother? Photos of working at my computer will go only so far -- unless I capture my occasional computer meltdowns because technology is giving me fits that day. And photos of work with clients is going to get boring fast, too.
So what's a gal to do? Well.....how about a photo story of a work trip, a photo story of a conference, a photo story of my client transformations, a photo story of workshop content & participant stories....hmmmm. Food for thought. I'm sure I'll think of more!
What ideas come to your mind for your business?
Don't be put off when you link to the page -- it's very boring and when I first went there I wasn't sure what I was looking at. But under the Introduction heading, link on Welcome and that will start the initial video.
When thinking about storyboarding, most people fixate on their ability — or perceived inability — to draw. What is far more important is working out the point you wish to make with your storyboard, and the actual story that will ...
Yes yes yes, one of the best techniques for crafting your business stories is to use storyboarding. But so many people feel intimidated by it.
As this how-to article demonstrates, it's not about art. It's about getting your thoughts down in an easy to use format.
The secret to why this works? The job of the storyteller is to feed images to the listener. Organizing and crafting your story first as a series of images makes telling the story super easy.
I often use a deck of 3x5 cards where I draw a stick figure or write a word. Then I can easily re-arrange them as I walk through the story out loud. It works like a charm.
And make sure to read Parts 1 and 3 (links are in the article) to get the whole story :)
So read this article and master storyboarding techniques. It's easy.Try it, you'll like it!
"As Beth Kanter remarked on a public Google Plus thread about creating useful infographics, “I think that information visualization is a necessity in this age of data overload and seeing the forest beyond the trees.” I agree with that statement, and personally jump to view the “shiny new storytelling toy” whenever I see an infographic. Infographics represent an exciting new storytelling avenue for nonprofit organizations, enabling them to share important data stories, visually."
I don't know how I missed this post by colleague and fellow curator Debra Askanase but it's a good one!
Debra makes the point that infographics can and should tell a story. She then gives tips on how to do so and resources to use.
And I love the infographic at the top of the article! It's a perfect example of one that blends both data and storytelling elements.
What are the story elements an infographic can use to be more effective?
It needs to be emotionally engaging in ways that offer people a way to make a difference
A beginning, middle & end with a story arc
Statement of a problem and ways for resolution
Story triggers -- graphics and words that trigger stories within the minds of viewers
A point, a key message
Suggested actions to take
Not all infographics need to tell a story. Before embarking on creating an infographic, ask yourself the following strategic questions:
Who is my target audience?
What important information does my target audience need or want to hear?
Is the purpose of the infographic to share information, educate people, or create a context for understanding an issue?
Is the purpose of the infographic to spark action -- either donations, support, or advocacy?
What is my key message? What do I want my viewers to take away from the experience?
If you answered YES to #4, then you need your infographic to tell a story. If you answered YES to #3, then your infographic only needs to convey information.
Go read the article for more great infographic insights.
1. Develop stronger active listening skills by capturing and deciphering three channels of information.
2. Synthesize information from multiple channels to draw conclusions and guide c...
Here are a series of activities you can download free to improve your story listening skills created by colleague & org story professional Terrence Gargiulo.
Why is this important you ask???
Because deepening your listening is the first skill all storytellers develop in order to be able to become compelling storytellers.
Improving your listening skills means you will be better able to listen for the story that wants to be told at any time, in any situation; you'll be able to listen better to the audience to see how you need to tell your story at that moment; and deeper listening skills will allow you to more easily discover the key message of your story.
So go do these exercises! And thanks Terrence for putting them together.