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...

River Stories

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river stories

River stories: Numerous stories have been written about rivers. We all have rivers to cross. Metaphorical rivers represent both the obstacles we encounter in life and business and where the “current” carries us. Perhaps a tough conversation lies ahead or we’ve got to hit our numbers for the month. Many of us greet a river of traffic every morning or manage rivers of data at work. Water is an...

Sea Stories: Do You Trust Your Compass?

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Do you trust your compass? Finding your way in life, business, and traffic is a challenge. The easiest way to get somewhere without getting lost is to switch on the GPS. But too many people never know the joy of leaving sight of land with a compass and a paper chart. Only then can you experience the thrill when the trees appear on the horizon—right where they’re supposed to—like magic. And...

Storytelling Straight Talk: Humility Kills Conviction

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Leaders write and speak with conviction. Bold writing is not arrogant. Readers and audiences know that your words are a direct extension of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences. Don’t talk about yourself at the expense of offering value to those receiving your message: I believe that we all want to communicate with authority and conviction. In my experience, writers and speakers who...

Phil Woods: Is Your Work Beneath You?

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Phil Woods Saxopohone

I was frustrated the other day, thinking about how I need a better computer. Some of my software is out of date and my machine just doesn’t have the speed and the memory to support some of the the new tools I want to use. I could work so much faster and do so much more. And I hate some of the projects I have to take on! We all take on bread-and-butter jobs, but I’ve been at my profession for...

Sexual Harassment – Rewriting the Story

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sexual harassment

Is sexual harassment a problem, or a symptom of a larger, deeper issue? The answer depends on the stories we use to define and discuss it. Challenge: Write a story about sexual harassment. Use fictional avatar characters. (If you call real people out by name, you’ll threaten them and they’ll stop listening.) One more thing: You’re stuck with the following character. Why? Because too many people...

Be an Effective Storyteller. Try Story Listening

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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

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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.

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“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

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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

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“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...

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Dave Bricker: StorySailing®