Tag Archives: Peter Guber

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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Lessons from Business Storytelling in Constructive Personal Narrative

Business Storytelling books and resources have proliferated, drawing many lessons from Hollywood’s storytelling business and from advertising, public relations, and marketing.

David Epston

David Epston

Michael White

Michael White

Yet business readers may be less aware that more than two decades ago, Australia-based family therapists Michael White and David Epston asserted that people experience personal problems when the stories they tell about their lives do not represent their actual experiences.

They offered ways for people to “re-story” of “re-author” their personal narratives in their now-classic Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends

Michel Foucault

Years after White and Epston built on French philosopher, Michel Foucault’s Post-Structuralist/Modernist analysis of narrative, Paul John Eakin integrated literature, cognitive science, ethics and social criticism in his intriguingly-titled books, Living Autobiographically: How We Create Identity in Narrative and How Our Lives Become Stories: Making Selves 

Eakin echoes Foucault’s view that cultural and social “discourses” influence the narratives people develop about themselves and others, and he, like White and Epston, suggests that personal narratives can be modified to reduce subjective discomfort. How Our Lives Become Stories

Though White and Epston led their clients’ introspective analysis of personal narrative, philosophers like Foucault, and perhaps even Eakin, would argue for the viability of self-guided introspection.

-*When have you used stories to help others solve problems?
-*When have you heard stories that helped you resolve issues?

Related Resources:
Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire

Whoever Tells the Best Story WinsWhoever Tells the Best Story Wins: How to Use Your Own Stories to Communicate with Power and Impact

The Elements of Persuasion: Use Storytelling to Pitch Better, Sell Faster & Win More Business 
Tell to Win

Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story

The Leader's Guide to StorytellingThe Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative

Winning the Story WarsWinning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future

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Business Stories as Narratives

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Paul Smith’s book, Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire, builds on thought leadership (references below), with tools to develop effective business narratives in response to 21 business challenges and “five 5 E” leadership scenarios:

Envision Success
Environment for Winning
Energize the Team
Educate People
Empower Others

Smith explains that business effective stories are:Lead With a Story
• Simple
• Timeless
• Inspiring
• Respectful
• Easy to understand
• Segue easily into appropriate learning modes for various ways of taking in information
• Compatible with business discourse

Peter Guber

• “contagious” (amenable to retelling and viral broadcast such as the “purposeful narrative” discussed by Peter Guber – see previous posting below)

• proof-points

He explains “four levels of discourse” to understand story as a rhetorical device, and suggests using more than one of these in memorable business stories:

Exposition explains with information
Description makes vivid with compelling details
Narration tells a story or explains a sequence
Argumentation convinces with logic or evidence.

In addition to these elements, Smith recommends weaving in:
• Metaphors
• Emotion
• Realism

Surprise “to sear the entire story in your audience’s long-term memory” because memories consolidate shortly after an event (or its story) happens

Specific, familiar examples of outcomes that have occurred to individuals like themselves, and vivid individual characterizations

Style: Use the CAR mnemonic to “drive” a story:

o Context: Sufficiently-detailed time and location of the story to “set the stage” for dramatic action and “lesson”
o Action: Catalyst, turning point, climax and final action towards resolution
o Result: The outcome, and its importance or “lesson learned.

Smith’s book joins an expanding list of valuable references to increase business narrative impact:

Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell (and Live) the Best Stories Will Rule the Future

Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins
The Elements of Persuasion: Use Storytelling to Pitch Better, Sell Faster & Win More Business

The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling: Mastering the Art and Discipline of Business Narrative

Tell to Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story

Related Posts:

-*What elements do you consider when crafting a business story for greatest impact?

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