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Show them how it's done

Certain lessons are best learned from experience— but much of the time you can’t manufacture an experience for someone.  When the experience of failure is too expensive or disastrous to endure – story can simulate an experience so a learner can vicariously live the moments before, during, and after an event in the theater of

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Point the way

An exciting future story reframes present difficulties as “worth it.” Big projects and new challenges can be difficult and frustrating particularly for people who weren’t in on the decision-making process. Without a vision, meaningless frustrations suck the life energy out of a group. With an engaging vision huge obstacles shrink to small irritants on the

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Get people thinking

Storytelling is a great way to prompt introspection without putting people on the defensive.  Do you ever wonder “What were you thinking?” or worse, “How does you sleep at night?”  I do.  Yet, any effort to “MAKE” someone think about his/her actions only pushes them away.  If you really want them to back up and reconsider the

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Make a connection, fast

Share an experience via story about that person that brings him/her alive with detail.  Your story of admiration and gratitude towards someone who embodies the qualities, skills, vision, or values you want to share, it demonstrates humility and gratitude. Humility and gratitude are vital in good leadership and are the essence of personal dignity.  Your

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Make a presentation

When you hunt for a story, focus on the concept you need to illustrate and ask someone to help you come up with ideas.  Once you have found one watch or read the scene again closely, pull out descriptions that set the scene in context for people who are not familiar with the big story. 

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Build and Keep Trust

Trust is lost when you treat someone fairly by your standards, yet unfairly by their standards.  This doesn’t have to happen!!  There are many completely valid definitions of fair: everyone shares equally…whoever works harder gets more…the rainmakers get the most (even if it doesn’t look like they work hard)…hey, the neediest get first dibs…none of which translates to the

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Popular Posts

Storyteller’s Confession: My Secret Mission

I’ve been trying to infiltrate the halls of power for decades. My secret mission is to increase the diversity of thought by teaching those without a voice how to tell their stories and by teaching leaders how to find and retell stories that broaden everyone’s understanding.

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 8 of 8

We need a Magic School for Storytellers Thirty years before J. K. Rowling created Harry Potter, Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea series imagined a magic school that taught apprentice sorcerers how to avoid abusing the power of magic. Le Guin points out early in the series that “even to light a candle is to cast a

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 7 of 8

Truth in Storytelling When I wrote the first edition of The Story Factor twenty years ago, I began with the idea that people don’t want more information. They want faith in you and your positive intentions. I never suspected that two decades later we’d be discussing an explosion of stories that intentionally undermine this faith. Without

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 6 of 8

The Moral Dilemmas of a Lion, a Scarecrow, and a Tin Man Frank Baum’s original introduction to The Wizard of Oz, written in 1900, made it clear that he felt children no longer needed the stereotypical “old-time fairy tale” that “may now be classed as ‘historical’ in the children’s library.” Baum claimed the time had

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Stories with a Moral Blueprint – part 5 of 8

  Blueprints for Building Trust Learning to drive was fun until I hit the mailbox. I burst into tears, blaming my dad, “You told me not to brake when turning corners!” It wasn’t my fault that he neglected to clarify I should brake before turning the corner so I could release the brakes while turning

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