StorySailing Blog

The Elements of Story

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I never thought I’d learn about business while sailing alone on a small boat at sea, but here’s the story: When I was a young man still in college, I found myself—quite through happenstance—in the company of an odd band of folks who lived aboard their sailboats in the free anchorage in Miami. The stories they told about harrowing adventures in faraway places captured my interest. Up until that...

Real Estate and Storytelling

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Maria, a realtor attended one of my storytelling workshops at the suggestion of a mutual friend. “What does storytelling have to do with real estate?” she asked before the session started. Tell me about a property you’re excited about,” I replied. “I just got a listing for a 1937, two-bedroom, Dade County pine house in the Roads Neighborhood,” she said. “It’s 1800 square feet, Key West style, has...

Lost and Found Losers

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Lost and found items create logistical challenges, but stories are always about people. The story of how (or whether) a person is reunited with a lost item they need or value determines the success of important business relationships. Create a story about your relationship with your customer—a person, or they’ll move on to conduct business where they feel cared about. A colleague in the speaking...

Avoid the Data-Dump Doldrums

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Data-dump presentations are guaranteed attention-killers. Information is important, but storytellers make that information meaningful. Add PowerPoint slides full of tables and tiny type to create a particularly excruciating audience experience. The following statements are true. The description is accurate. But something’s missing. WordPress is a content-management platform used to drive over...

You Can Keep Your Business Cards

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I was talking with a friend at a business networking event when a man came plowing through the crowd doling out business cards as if he were handing out candy on Halloween. After the most cursory of introductions, he put a card in each of our hands, smiled, and moved on to interrupt the next group of people. “What a waste of ink, paper, and time.” I said to Jim. “But I wonder…,” he replied...

Hobbyist or Professional? Be the Best in the World.

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Hobbyist or professional? True professionals dedicate their lives to being the best in the world at whatever they do—not some day, but today—every day. Not try, do. I have played guitar almost every day for almost forty years. I play a variety of styles, have performed for paying audiences, know a good selection of jazz standards and other tunes by heart, and could write a book on the great...

Conflict: Sailing the Storms of Life and Business

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In storms of life and business, it requires immense energy to sustain conflict. Dangerous and destructive forces require attention and—at the appropriate times—resistance, but often the best strategy is to park and wait for the tempest to subside. A retail client came to me complaining that her competitor was offering sale prices that had been reduced below her wholesale costs. “If I compete with...

Sell Outcomes, Not Products

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Sell outcomes. The products or services you exchange at the transaction stage of a business relationship might not be the most meaningful basis for describing what you offer. Before you print your next batch of business cards, think like a storyteller. All your competitors sell what you sell, but do they produce the same outcomes for customers? Most guitars are not sold because of their tone and...

Pace Your Prose With The One-Sentence Paragraph

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Search for “one-sen­tence para­graph” on the In­ter­net and you’ll mostly find ques­tions about whether writ­ing them is even an ac­cept­able prac­tice. The one-sen­tence para­graph is not only legal, it’s a use­ful and pow­er­ful lit­er­ary de­vice for writers and speakers. One-sen­tence para­graphs are com­mon when short pieces of di­a­log are being ex­changed, but con­sider the ef­fect of...

Your Unique Value Story

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Tell your unique value story to put an end to awkward business introductions. “So… um … (squints at my name tag) … Dave … What do you do?” is my least favorite of the questions that droozle out of people’s mouths at networking events and business introductions. I have a confession to make: I don’t care what you do … and you don’t care what I do, either. We might as well be talking about the...

Confirmation Bias: Storytelling at Your front Door

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We give more weight to evidence that supports what we like—a phenomenon called, “confirmation bias.” Belief is often based as much on what we want to be true as on what we determine to be true through direct observation. Data, science, and empirical observation are insufficient to change our hearts and minds when we are entranced by a compelling story, but the consequences of willing suspension...

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Dave Bricker: StorySailing®