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best practices

best practices

The Refreshing Dr. Schramm

Just read a great post, A Refresher on Storytelling 101, by JD Schramm. Here are a few of my favorite parts Parachute in, don’t preamble. The best storytellers draw us immediately into the action. They capture our attention and set the tone for a unique audience experience. Avoid opening with “I’d like to tell you a story about a time when I learned…” Instead, drop us into the action and draw the lesson out later. This is a huge challenge for…

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best practices data stories

Wear Pants, Tell Stories

We’ve talked about naming relationships in stories, creating obstacles, telling our own stories, and how to walk your talk. Now, in the fifth entry of our series about storytelling, let’s talk about combining story with data for maximum effect. The “two” in your one-two punch Many of us think data are king. Numbers seem like an objective, universal language. We may even believe that opening with data makes us instantly credible and our requests impossible to deny. What this assumption…

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best practices

Five Parts Are Better Than…

Thanks to the SuperBowl “Puppy Love” commercial, we now know the love story of puppy meets Clydesdale, Clydesdale falls for puppy, and so on. It is a familar story construction with unusual costars, which is why the audience can connect immediately and still see it as refreshing. In Harrison Monarths’ The Irresistible Power of Storytelling as a Strategic Business Tool, he writes about the commercial’s construction and Freytag’s five acts: exposition rising action climax falling action dénouement Interestingly, the ad…

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best practices brand stories self-advocacy

Walk Your Talk (Or Fly It)

We’ve already talked about naming relationships in stories, creating obstacles, and telling our own stories. Now, in the fourth entry of our series about storytelling, let’s talk about how to deliver on what makes your organization special. Surely your organization has many positive characteristics going for it. The key is to pick the characteristics you most want to spotlight and show them in play. This approach is all about quality over quantity. You’re gonna have to prove it Almost every…

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best practices self-advocacy

You Tell Your Story So I Can Tell Mine

We’ve already talked about naming relationships in stories and creating obstacles. Now, in our third entry for our series around storytelling, let’s talk about why we should tell our own stories rather than the stories of others. Telling other people’s stories doesn’t help people understand you If you asked my grandmother to tell you what is going on in her life she would say, “Oh, my grandson is a very busy teacher.” Perhaps her life may be all about her…

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best practices character selection

Heroes Need Obstacles

We’ve already talked about naming relationships in stories. Now, in another entry for our series around storytelling, let’s dig into the valuable role obstacles play in telling good stories. Obstacles make stories interesting Humans connect to stories about other humans—as long as those stories have some struggle. Happy endings in stories become more valuable when they are harder to earn. Without a struggle, it can feel like the meat of the story, the adventure, is missing. Just look at the…

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best practices character selection

When Being “Partners” Dilutes Your Story

Do you call your doctor your “health partner”? Probably not. While you both care about your health, you each have different levels of knowledge, liability for poor decisions, and definitions of success. Using the word “partner” ignores all your differences. Lately, organizations are talking about telling their stories better. Every story needs a great relationship between its characters, and “partners” is one of the most popular relationships among philanthropists, nonprofits and consultants. Sometimes that term is accurate, but when it…

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