StorySailing Blog

The Elements of Story


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...

Be an Effective Storyteller. Try Story Listening


Storytelling is a powerful tool, but no one ever talks about story listening. Have you ever been with a friend, family member, client, or colleague and assumed they were thinking and feeling something completely different from what they actually were? People in the exact same place at the exact same time can have dramatically different experiences. (I think anyone who’s ever been in a...

English Pet Peeves for Storytellers

English Pet Peeves

Dis­cus­sions of English pet peeves pro­vide an en­ter­tain­ing forum for the ex­pres­sion of ire. In fact, if a “pet” is some­thing we cher­ish, and a “peeve” is some­thing that an­noys us, “pet peeves” are what we love to hate. Misusing language is among the fastest and most potent ways to ruin a good story. If your message has logical or structural flaws, listeners become distracted. Correct...

Another Boring Speaker! The Problem and How to Fix It.


“This should be a great presentation,” said Jess as we walked into the Chamber of Commerce breakfast and grabbed a table near the platform. The speaker made a gazillion dollars taking startups public. He’s the CEO of…” “Why does everyone assume successful people make great speakers?” “Don’t you want to hear how he built these enterprises from nothing, and how he…? “Of course, I do. But I don’t...

Superhero Stories

superhero stories

When I was young, I collected superhero stories and comic books. I was fascinated by the exploits of the same characters—Ironman, Spiderman, Superman, and others—who inspire movie-watchers today. The comic book was for me, the ultimate storytelling medium, a combination of written dialogue and colorful illustration. Superhero stories and comic book characters have always been popular. Perhaps...

Selling the Story: Storytelling for Skeptics


“Storytelling…? I don’t know.” A troubled look flashed across Sally’s face. “You’ll have a hard time selling me on your topic. Last year’s speaker was a dud. I need to deliver some wow-factor this year or I might not be planning next year’s convention.” “I get it,” I reassured her. “When you pitch storytelling, your boss is going to imagine some clown up on stage reading The Three Bears...

Story Themes: The Unlikely Teacher


The unlikely teacher is one of my favorite story themes,  partially because I’ve been fortunate to have had wonderful, unlikely teachers in my own life, but also because it suggests pathways and opportunities for us to transform our lives and businesses. Remember the Star Wars movie when Luke Skywalker crash-landed on Degobah, the swamp planet? He encounters a small green elf who answers his...

Are Your Messages Missing the Mark?


Are your messages missing the mark? Are your stories clear and accurate or are your meanings lost in translation? The storyteller’s challenge is to convert abstract and intangible ideas, experiences, emotions, and memories into sounds or characters on a page so other people can understand that message in a meaningful and accurate way. But many words have multiple meanings. Text-only messaging...

Stuck in the Wrong Story? Need a Bigger Bucket?

bigger bucket

Getting stuck in the wrong story can feel productive, but it traps us in conflict and prevents us from reaching our meaningful goals.   I was sitting in the cockpit of my sailboat one evening when I spied a small commotion out on the water. One of my neighbors was rowing out to the anchorage. Every minute or so, he’d stop and bail the water out of his boat. I could see his little red Ace...

Problem-Solving & Storytelling: Understand Their Story


Use storytelling for problem-solving. Think about the various stories involved in a conflict and plot a course for resolution. Seen through the StorySailing™ spyglass, a story is analogous to the voyage of a sailboat across the rocky, stormy seas of conflict to the safe port of transformation. Too many stories end poorly because the captain insists on heading deeper into a storm. I designed a...


Learn more about the craft of storytelling. Subscribe and I'll send you something worth reading twice a month.
privacy policy

Talk to Me!


Talk to Me!

Dave Bricker: StorySailing<sup><span style="font-size:.3em;">™</span></sup>