As the longtime host of The Moth podcast and its New York-based StorySLAMs, Dan Kennedy certainly knows a good story when he hears it. Kennedy has spent the last 16 years performing his own work and listening to others share theirs, whether it’s during The Moth’s prepared main stage events or its looser, put-your-name-in-a-hat slams.
“[During] the first story I told on the main stage, I had long bangs that I let down in front of my eyes,” Kennedy says. “I was hunched over at the mic, and I was mumbling a story that I thought was very funny.”
He adds, “At some point there was a huge laugh, and I don’t really know if it was because of the story, or if it was, ‘Oh my god, why is this guy getting onstage?’ But I felt the comfort of that laugh, and I just remember thinking, 'All right. I might have to keep doing this just to be sane.'”
Recently, I asked Kennedy to share a few tips for anyone who aspires to be a better storyteller, whether it’s in front of five people at a bar or 500 in a sold-out theater. Those who follow his advice just might become addicted to the process, too:
For every startup that succeeds, many more fail. But what is it that makes the difference between a successful company, and one that just doesn’t quite hit the mark?
Bernadette Jiwa uncovers that and more in her new book, Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly. According to Jiwa, many companies miss an essential opportunity to focus on the customer story and what they want, and instead focus on the story that they want to tell.
Jen Grisanti may have a phenomenal résumé, but she will be the first to tell you that it is the result of a lot of hard work and yes, a few pitfalls along the way.
These failures, however, are an aspect of the human condition and Jen firmly believes that at the confluence of storytelling and business, entrepreneurs need to come clean about their failures and share them with their audience.
Gregg Morris's insight:
If you haven't read her book, Story Line, do so as soon as you can. A wonderful read.
Today, every marketer understands the value of story as a way to sell just about anything. But, still, few understand the right way to use story and narrative as a way to guide people on the perfect journey.
This is due in large part to the fact that it takes some skill, a bit of hard work and perhaps, more importantly, patience. A great story has many significant elements and to have the greatest impact each element must be built in a certain order – much like the foundation of a house must be laid before the walls and roof have a place to stand.
I love finding brands who have deep-seated community values, who embrace the story of what made them become a brand in the first place, and who have a vision for how they plan to grow into something awesome.
Sure, we live in a world where many brands and people are focused on getting ahead and achieving only monetary goals. But there are plenty of brands and marketing teams that enjoy being part of the community and are incorporating a big-picture mentality with story-worthy assets into their business models. And guess what? Consumers, especially millennials, love this.
Professional Listening Matters Not only is Megan Finnerty the Engagement and Features Editor at Gannett Newspaper, The Arizona Republic, she is also a storytelling consultant and the founder of The Arizona Storytelling Project, for which she won the National Headliner Award for Journalistic Innovation.
The Arizona Storytelling Project has started a nationwide trend toward community-based storytelling with pro-social values, and Megan joins the podcast to share her expertise on identifying your value proposition and translating that into a story that will grab and engage listeners.
My brother-in-law loves to call me a nuclear scientist. And while I’d like to claim that level of intelligence, it’s really because the industry I’m in can be daunting to those who don’t play with data for a living.
For some of us, answering the simple question, “What do you do for a living?” can be a challenge. It can make it difficult for people to connect with us and creates a complexity that shouldn’t exist; it’s an example of why stories are important. I have a peer (Robert Allison) who is a great storyteller and I use his examples frequently when explaining how data can improve the quality of life. He uses stories to answer life’s questions and includes evidence-based data to support those narratives. Robert’s work and designs help SAS customers uncover answers to questions they have about their own data. By using a story technique he’s removed the complexity of a subject (working with data) and made it easy to understand.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and I'm thankful today that I can announce the initial public release of Narratopia, the conversational story game. You can buy a copy at thegamecrafter.com.
Now I'll tell those who are interested what has been happening with Narratopia over the past several months. As you might remember, I introduced an early version of the game back in February. I asked for volunteers to play the game and report back. Ten people got copies of the game, and six sent feedback. Some sent more and some sent less, but every word was useful. I've also played the game more at home and with relatives and friends. By the time NarraFirma was released, I was ready to get back to working on Narratopia. Here is what I learned and changed.
Margot Leitman, writer, storyteller, teacher, and author of “Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need,” joins the Business of Story Podcast to discuss her latest book, successful storytelling tips, and discovering authentic stories within your own life.
I am optimistic about the next phase of storytelling bringing the industry to a better place—although I do have a bone to pick with how some organizations knowingly (or unwittingly) get in their own way. Here are five things companies do that can impede storytelling success.
What Is Your Brand’s Personality? What are archetypes?
As the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung classified them, archetypes are a universal and subconscious concept, “images that are integrally connected to the individual by the bridge of emotions.”
Margaret Hartwell is well-versed in Jung’s psychology of archetypes and she brings her expertise to the Business of Story to apply this psychology to brand initiatives, creation, maintenance, and reinvention.
As you can see from our resources section, these universal character archetypes have proven to be incredibly powerful in influencing the story of various brands in the world.
Margaret shares how business leaders can bring these archetypes to life so that they are empathetic and so that we as consumers have an authentic connection that humanizes the brands in our lives.
What Makes a Hero? Each week, we invite a new guest to help us break down the story cycle and its origins in Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey” so that listeners can use these tools when crafting brand stories, marshalling the troops in their companies, and understanding their customers’ journeys.
In furthering that mission, we welcome Matthew Winkler, educator, author, and creator of the TED-Ed Talk, “What makes a hero?” which went viral with over 1.5 million views on YouTube.
Matthew and Park unpack the story cycle and show you how to overcome your most difficult challenges to live the hero’s journey in your own life.
Simple Yet Compelling Storytelling Kathy Klotz-Guest is an expert at helping business professionals become better storytellers for their companies.
With a resume steeped in Silicon Valley culture, you may believe Kathy to be a specific kind of marketer. But for a while, she led a dual life working as marketing director and consultant during the day and moonlighting as an improv comedian on evenings and weekends.
There are so many ways to tell a story now — a tweet, an infographic, a Snapchat Story, an Instagram post, virtual reality, a push alert. You’ve heard the buzzwords around these platforms: ~native~ and ~distributed~. They’re trends that took off in 2015. In 2016, let’s aim for a new trend: integration. Which does not refer to content — it refers to your newsroom.
Who doesn't love hearing a juicy story? Whether sitting around a crackling campfire, listening to a horror story, or even just a phone call with a friend venting to you about that bad date last week. We all love listening to a great story, one that both captivates and holds us speechless for a moment in time. Since the first cave drawings were discovered, over 27,000 years ago, telling stories has been one of the most important means of communication. Human beings are natural storytellers, it’s intrinsic to our genes. Everything from religion, to science, to love needs a story for people to find it believable. It only makes sense to marry the elements of storytelling and social media marketing—leveraging one of the most basic aspects of human nature. For social media and content marketers, “when you present your content in new, engaging and interactive ways, it stands out in a constant stream of competing information.”
The question then is, what storytelling tools are out there that you can use to enhance your social media marketing? Here are a few of my personal faves:
“All writers must come to understand the relationship of story to life: Story is the metaphor for life,” says Bob McKee in Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting: “A storyteller is a life poet, and artist who transforms day-to-day living, inner life and outer life, dream and actuality into a poem whose rhyme scheme is events rather than words -- a two-hour metaphor that says: Life is like this! Therefore, a story must abstract from life to discover its essences, ..."
Justin Trevor Winters, screenwriter of the upcoming movie “Killing Winston Jones,” joins the Business of Story Podcast to explore the intersection of Hollywood storytelling with commerce content marketing.
The 2015 Brand Storytelling report, now in its third year, has revealed mixed fortunes for many of the UK’s leading brands. The survey that polled 2,800 UK consumers in October has seen Cadbury, McDonald’s, Walkers and Coca-Cola drop out of the top 10 to be replaced by the BBC (4th), Xbox (5th), Cancer Research (6th) and Samsung Electronics (7th). The Aesop Brand Storytelling research top 10 is completed by Playstation (8th), Google (9th) and Facebook (10th).
“As ever, those brands with a strong sense of mission do well in our storytelling survey. Their purposes for being make their narratives heroic and their storytelling clear and compelling. Those brands that have lost a sense of who they are and why they exist have taken a tumble ,” said Ed Woodcock, director of narrative, Aesop.
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