Category Archives: Storytelling

The secret ingredient in a great story & how to get my mother’s attention.

Last Friday night I had dinner with a girlfriend. The leaves swirled past the windows, while inside my friend’s home we warmed ourselves with good wine, good food and great conversation. I arrived at 5:30 p.m. and, all of a sudden, it was 10:40 p.m. The conversation was that good. What made it so? We talked about things we both cared about. There is the secret to a good story: make it about something the hearer cares deeply about and you will have their attention.Storytelling and Case for Support

The temptation is to make the stories in our cases for support about the organization and the good work it does. When we do this we miss what a psychologist calls the ‘self-interest’ element. A marketer calls it the ‘what’s in it for me’ factor. We all come to the table with self interest. That is how we are wired as human beings. It’s true whether we are skimming a newspaper, learning that a storm is in the forecast or hearing a story about a remarkable charity. We tune out the things that don’t affect us and tune in to the things that do. Continue reading

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Need a good vision story?

“A man came upon a construction site where three people were working. He asked the first, “What are you doing?” and the man answered, “I am laying bricks.” He asked the second, “What are you doing?” and the man answered, “I am building a wall.” He walked up to the third man, who was humming a tune as he worked and asked, “What are you going?” and the man stood up and smiled and said, “I am building a cathedral.” If you want to influence others in a big way, you need to give them a vision story that will become their cathedral.” — Annette Simmons in The Story Factor.

Uppsala Domkyrka (Cathedral). Photo by Mark Wilson: Wikimedia commons

Uppsala Domkyrka (Cathedral). Photo by Mark Wilson: Wikimedia commons

We can assume from the story that all three men were bricklayers. The difference is how they understand their role, their contribution and the significance of their involvement. Notice how the third man was humming and smiling. Continue reading

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