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...

Storytelling Tips: The Rush of Discovery

storytelling: rush of discovery

Storytelling tips: You’re walking along and you happen to look down. “Hey, that’s not a scrap of paper; that’s a $20 bill!” Isn’t it a rush when something we thought was useless turns out to be meaningful. Stories—whether they’re truth or fiction—are powerful tools for connection and engagement—as long as you craft them well. The following short story demonstrates techniques you can use as a...

My Club Got a One-Star Review


How do you handle a one-star review? Capable leaders are adept at untangling the many stories that compete for attention when problems need solving and egos need soothing. I monitor a FaceBook page for a local chapter of a national organization I’m a member of. I was surprised when one of last year’s guest speakers, a member from another chapter, posted a one-star review of our chapter. The...

Running Aground in the Seas of Commerce


My client, Bill, came to me in a panic. “I’ve hit a wall. My competition is killing me. Styles and trends are changing. I need to rebrand, repackage—start over—new website, new brochures—everything—as soon as possible. “You might be right,” I suggested with a calm voice that probably annoyed him as much as it comforted him, “but humor me for a few minutes before you go running out the door to...

‘Twas the Month Before Christmas


’Twas a month before Christmas, when all through the land Every forklift was stirring, precisely as planned Products were lined on the store shelves with care In hopes that the customers soon would be there   The people were nestled all snug in their beds While Thanksgiving excesses pounded their heads Their guts packed with cranberries, gravy, and sweets Turkey and stuffing, potatoes and...

Thoughts on Thanksgiving


  When the urge to gripe arises, consider that no matter what dark clouds may loom on the horizon, you threaded the needle of human history. Imagine what life would have been like had you been born not so many years ago. This Thanksgiving note offers a few things to think about and be thankful for. Some of them have their dark sides; the automobile and the television are as much a curse as a...

River Stories

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?


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


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?

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

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...


Talk to Me!


Talk to Me!

Dave Bricker: StorySailing®