Tag Archives: Jonathan Brill

Why and How of Business Storytelling

Jonathan Gottschall

Jonathan Gottschall

Jonathan Gottschall’s book, The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human, adds to the burgeoning number of volumes that analyze the meaning, mechanisms, and impact of storytelling in business settings.

He argues that stories help people navigate life’s complex social problems at work and home, by helping develop empathic understanding and “trying on” solutions through observational learning in a virtual “experience simulator.”

The Storytelling AnimalGottschall discusses dreams as “night stories,” focused on a protagonist’s quest to achieve goals, and he acknowledges dream researchers’ definition of dreams: “intense sensorimotor hallucinations with a narrative structure,” including literary elements like plot, theme, character, scene, setting, point of view, perspective.

He considers psychotherapists as “script doctors,” who help individuals revise personal narratives to restore efficacy as protagonists in one’s life story.

HBR Guide to Persuasive PresentationsNancy Duarte provides guidance on best practices to tell compelling business stories using literary and graphic elements in her latest book, HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations, published by Harvard Business School Press.

She is well-known for producing Al Gore’s original slides that formed the foundation of his Academy Award-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth.

Nancy Duarte

Nancy Duarte

Duarte gained wide-spread recognition for her first book, a business best-seller, slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations 

Her second book was well-received and built on the principles she articulated in her original book. Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences 

-*When have you been able to “try on solutions” to life’s challenges by telling or hearing relevant stories?

-*When have you served as an informal “script doctor” to help someone modify a problematic personal narrative?

Related posts:

Lessons from Business Storytelling in Constructive Personal Narrative

Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins Five Elements to Construct a Good Story

 Business Stories as Narratives 

Business Storytelling = Trance Induction?

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Business Storytelling = Trance Induction?

Jonathan Brill

Jonathan Brill

Jonathan Brill of Prolific.com asserts that storytelling in sales situations can be memorable, evocative, and often persuasive because stories engender:

• Trust-credibility
• Engagement-interest-attention
• Comprehension
• Transformation
• Vision
• Sharing

Brian Sturm

Brian Sturm

Brill referred to a model of storytelling developed by Brian Sturm, a professor at University of North Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science, who Sturm asserts that storytelling induces a “qualitatively different state of consciousness”, like “a light trance.”

Sturm surmises that trance can be induced ”when stories begin with paradoxical or nonsensical premises that engage both the more logical functions associated with the ‘left brain’ and non-verbal, emotive, creative elements associated with the ‘right brain’.”

He observes that stories “create an immersive, powerful world” that the listener may “struggle to gain access.”
In addition, stories “organize information” to “connect data points.”

Sturm notes that stories convey emotions and opportunities to learn from the example of winners and losers, so stories can build a sense of community and the capacity for empathy through shared experience.

He presents a seven-stage model of the Storylistening Experience in this video.

Mike Bonifer

Mike Bonifer

Brill also drew on Mike Bonifer’s discussion of the difference between “Newtonian narrative” vs “Quantum narrative,” which aligns to the distinction between a linear, logical, rational story in contrast to an organically emerging story suffused with emotion, imagery, and metaphor.

Like Sturm, Bonifer sees story as a way to organize information, and he adapts theatrical improvisation methods to business environments.
Bonifer sees improvisation as a “narrative engine” in the context of his ‘Five Act’ methodology for business consulting:


-*Where have you seen business stories induce “trance”?

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