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...

Pace Your Prose With The One-Sentence Paragraph

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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

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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

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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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business strategy and storytelling

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

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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

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shipwrecks

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...

Thoughts on Clichés

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cliches

Since time immemorial, clichés have sneaked in the door when we least expect them to. They’re low-hanging fruit for writers who abscond with them quickly instead of striving for excellence. But to the trained eye, writing clichés stick out like a sore thumb. Authors of this day and age who struggle under the yoke of undetected style errors are too numerous to mention. The good writer puts his...

The Virtuoso, the Teacher, & the Centipede

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virtuoso

One Sunday morning not long after I had been introduced to sailing, I was enjoying a cup of coffee in the cockpit of my friend Strider’s boat. The sounds of rustling canvas alerted me to watch a bronzed man on a neighboring boat haul up his sails, walk calmly to the bow, and drop one of his two anchor lines overboard with a buoy attached to it. After sailing up to his second anchor and letting...

Reading Aloud Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

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reading aloud

Keep your lis­ten­ers’ at­ten­tion while read­ing aloud. The host an­nounces the next au­thor. She walks to the lectern, of­fers a syn­op­sis, and be­gins read­ing aloud. It’s not bad prose—and I can’t say that for every writer here—but after three pages of pref­ace and an­other six of chap­ter one, I fan­ta­size about ring­ing a gong and ap­proach­ing the stage with a shep­herd’s crook. I...

Storytelling Tips: The Rush of Discovery

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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...

 
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Dave Bricker: StorySailing®