The Storysailing Blog

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The Elements of Story (6/11/2018) 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… READ ON
Videoconferencing: 11 Tips You Haven’t Seen (But Should) (3/31/2020) You’ve already read at least a dozen articles about ZOOM and videoconferencing that remind you to mute yourself when you’re not talking and look into the camera. Here are eleven important video tips you haven’t read before but should.   1. Virtual Backgrounds are Lame You may have missed the memo, but word has gotten… READ ON
Public Speaking Tip: Body Language and Spoken Languagebody language header (3/17/2020) Body language and spoken language: Combine them strategically to enhance audience engagement. In my 2019 Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest entry, I parodied the “speaker’s journey” from being paralyzed by fear to joining Toastmasters to becoming a confident presenter. (Toastmasters International is a global organization dedicated to the art of leadership through public speaking. Another tip:… READ ON
StorySailing®: Reconstructing the Gettysburg Address (3/3/2020) Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg address has been recorded by numerous orators over the years, including Orson Welles, but few of these works suggest that the speakers did anything more than read with conviction. How do you reconstruct a speech that was delivered 150 years ago—in the days before microphones, amplifiers, and recording technology? Historical research… READ ON
Vote Yourself Off the I-Land; Sail a You-Boat (2/18/2020) You’re either talking about your audience … or you’re talking about yourself. Too many speakers are “opera singers” (me-me-me-me-me-me-me). Vote yourself off the I-Land; explore the world in a You-boat.   I believe speakers should focus on the audience. In my experience, the best way to engage people is to make your content relevant. If… READ ON
Two-Word Clichés for Writers and Speakers (2/4/2020) Two-word clichés are perhaps the least obvious kind. Unless we’re vigilant, they sneak into our prose, steal color, mask our individual voice, and make us sound like millions of other writers and speakers who all mindlessly employ the same worn out word combinations. I find countless examples even while editing the work of accomplished authors. I… READ ON
Public Speaking Tip: Speechcrafting Goes Beyond Speechwritingspeechcrafting (1/21/2020) Speechcrafting is a special discipline of which speechwriting is but a single element. The effective speechcrafting professional understands the art of narrative and also the power of stagecraft—timing, pauses, dynamics, gestures. Eloquent words delivered by a lackluster presenter will miss their mark. The charisma of an engaging performer may bring an audience to their feet,… READ ON
Stone Soupstone soup header (1/6/2020) A little storytelling fun: a poem by yours truly. The title is a reference to the traditional Stone Soup folktale. What role does the context provided by understanding the title play in the interpretation of the story?   In November, 1954 In Sylacauga, Alabama Ann Hodges was lying on her couch Asleep In her apartment… READ ON
The Truth About Christmas : A Parable (12/23/2019) Jef­fer­son Baugh de­spised Christ­mas. He hated the in­ces­sant month-long ca­coph­ony of pop-mu­sic-in­fused hol­i­day car­ols that began the day after Thanks­giv­ing and droned on through New Years. He loathed hol­i­day sales and the an­nual cycle of ram­pant com­mer­cial­ism. He scoffed at an­i­mated Christ­mas shows fea­tur­ing doe-eyed chil­dren who found their way home be­cause they be­lieved. And at fif­teen… READ ON
Storytelling and The Avant Garde (12/9/2019) An accomplished jazz musician, educator, and friend pointed out that too many virtuosic young players blow a lot of noisy notes with fire and conviction, ignore the structure of the music, and brand themselves as “avant garde.” To his ears, their music sounds inauthentic. To play true avant-garde music, the musician (or any other kind… READ ON
Public Speaking Tip: Use Your Full Speaking Rangespeaking-range (11/25/2019) Speaking range is as important to a presentation as musical range is to performance. Actors refer to the combination of body and voice as an “instrument.” A piano has an eight-octave range of pitch, and the piano was originally named “pianoforte”—Italian for “loud-soft”—due to the power it gave musicians to change the volume—the dynamics—by pressing… READ ON
 
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Dave Bricker: StorySailing®