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Hardly a story to be heard in the Australian political campaign

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —November 4, 2007
Filed in Business storytelling

I have been listening carefully to the politcians on both sides of the Australian political fence in the run up to our election day on the 24th of November. And surprisingly I can’t remember a single anecdote or story from either of the leaders or or that matter from their team members. Mind you I have only heard them on TV or the radio and maybe they keep all their stories for the campaign trail. This is surprising because books like The Political Brain and Steve Denning’s latest, The Secret Language of Leadership, make it clear that voters make their decision on who they vote for based on the emotion they feel for a candidate, not the policies or promises they make. And we all know that emotion is best communicated with a story or anecdote.

Barack Obama knows how to create emotion with a simple anecdote. Here’s how the UK Telegraph reports the way he finished a recent speech.

Mr Obama finished with an anecdote about visiting a town for a political meeting where he sat bemused as one woman kept chanting: “Fire it up! Are you ready to go?”
“I didn’t know what to make of it,” he said. “But here’s the thing: after a minute or two, I’m feeling pretty fired up. It goes to show, one voice can change a room.

“Are you fired up? Are you ready to go?” he asked the crowd. Not one voice was silent as they loudly shouted their affirmation.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

One Response to “Hardly a story to be heard in the Australian political campaign”

  1. Keith De La Rue Says:

    Interesting observation. There is certainly some emotive use of story in the anti-Work Choices advertising, but that is more from the ACTU than Labor. Not sure that the government response ads are really telling a counter-story – they are more just a snap-shot of dialogue.

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