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...

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.


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


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


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


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


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...

Advertising, Business Strategy, and Storytelling

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If you’re skeptical about the connection between business strategy and storytelling, consider the challenges faced by advertising agencies and marketers. Ad agencies’ storytelling challenges are complex because they must consider how the stories of their individual team members dovetail with the story of the agency, how the agency’s story impacts the story of their clients, and how their clients’...

Another Customer Service Horror Story

customer service horror stories

Do you have a customer service horror story to share? What stories are you telling about yourself before you even show up to do business? A Customer Service Horror Story A friend of mine sailed his boat up on some rocks in the Bahamas. As the wind and waves increased, his stuck boat began to pound on the coral. Unable to get loose, he used his VHF radio to call for a rescue and was told a tow...

Shipwrecks, Reefs, and Stories About You


Shipwrecks are the ultimate symbols of massive failure. Building and operating a ship is an enormous enterprise that requires people, money, teamwork, and skill. Whether a vessel was sunk in battle or lost to a navigational blunder, every wrecked ship had someone at the helm (or someone who should have been) when the “Oh Shit!” moment occurred. Whether it’s the Titanic or a pile of ballast stones...


Talk to Me!


Talk to Me!

Dave Bricker: StorySailing®