Why Storytelling is Like a Tree (Stick to the Point!)

Few things test my patience like listening to a meandering story that wanders from tangent to tangent without ever getting to the point. Learning to focus your story on the essentials may be the hardest part of storytelling, which is why I compare storytelling to a tree. That means when you’re telling a story, you want […]

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Tell Personal Stories

Why You Should Tell Personal Stories (and How to Do It)

In my last post I talked about the importance of telling original stories. One of the best ways to be original is to tell personal stories derived from your own experience. Some of my clients are reluctant to do this. They’ll say that nobody wants to hear their stories. Which isn’t true. Especially if you’re […]

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Tell Original Stories

Tell Original Stories to Set Yourself Apart

Everyone wants to stand out from the crowd, but you can’t do that by telling the same old stories people have heard a million times. That’s why it’s important to tell original stories. Our stories are what set us apart as individuals. They communicate who we are and the values we hold dear. They make […]

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How to Tell Stories Like Malcolm Gladwell

When I lead storytelling workshops, someone inevitably says their work or their business is too complex to capture in a story. That’s when I point them to Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, Tipping Point and other bestsellers. I once watched Gladwell keep a ballroom full of people on the edge of their seats with an hour-long […]

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Storytelling Requires Courage

Storytelling Requires Courage, Discipline and Trust

Storytelling is about making hard choices, having the conviction to stand by those choices and respecting your audience’s intelligence. That’s a particularly tall order when you’re telling a story on behalf of a giant organization, where the approval process is fraught with perils, hurdles — and lawyers. So I was delighted to come across a stellar example […]

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Story overload

Story Overload: Too Much of a Good Thing

If you’re giving a presentation, storytelling can help you break down walls with your audience, earn their trust and, ultimately, influence them to do the thing you want them to do — accept your idea, approve your budget, invite you back, or hire you on the spot. But storytelling is a tool that should be […]

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Why Stories Fail

10 Fatal Mistakes Storytellers Make

Have you ever told a story that bombed? Or that just didn’t get the response you were hoping for? Don’t feel bad — it happens to everyone. But if you want to keep it from happening again, you need to diagnose what went wrong. Chances are, you made one (or more) of these fatal storytelling mistakes. […]

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I am not a communist

It’s True: I Am Not a Communist

There, I said it. It feels good to get that off my chest. When I do presentations, I get all kinds of feedback, from the eye-opening to the mind-bending. But until recently I’d never been accused of being a mindless tool of the capitalist agenda. Estela and the Candy Factory It was during a webinar when […]

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How to structure a story

How to Structure a Story in 3 Easy Steps

If you want to break down walls with an audience and influence them to act, nothing beats a well-told story. To create that story, simplicity is key: you need three basic elements: Character Goal Challenge Now you can make it as complicated as you want, layering on other elements like a turning point or a […]

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Brian Williams

Brian Williams: Cats, Dogs, Mass Hysteria!

The more this Brian Williams story plays out, the more ridiculous it seems. Unless NBC knows something the rest of us don’t, a six-month suspension seems pretty draconian. (But not draconian enough for those demanding he be fired.) I don’t really have a dog in this fight. I don’t watch the NBC Nightly News (or any […]

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