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Storytelling tips you can try: Do you get in the wheelbarrow with your team?

Posted by  Shelley Fenech —September 14, 2017
Filed in Anecdotes, Employee Engagement, Insight

Jean-Francois Gravelet was famous for tight-rope walking over the Niagara Falls in the late 1800s. This story was inspired by these amazing feats:

Tightrope over Niagara Falls

Upon completing a highly dangerous tightrope walk over Niagra Falls in appalling wind and rain, ‘The Great Blondin’ was met by an enthusiastic supporter, who urged him to make a return trip, this time pushing a wheelbarrow, which the spectator had thoughtfully brought along.

Blondin was reluctant, given the terrible conditions, but the supporter pressed him, “You can do it – I know you can,” he urged.

“You really believe I can do this?” asked Blondin.

“Yes – definitely – you can do it,” the supporter gushed.

“Okay,” said Blondin. “Get in the wheelbarrow…”

How to use this in business

It’s important to remember that it’s easy to give others advice or recommendations when the consequences won’t affect ourselves. If you’ve asked someone to do something or get something done for you that was perhaps a bit challenging, you could consider offering them support along the way.

So the next time you ask someone in your team to do something like this for you, it could go something like this: “You know, I understand that I’m asking a big thing of you here. In fact, it reminds me of ‘The Great Blondin, back in 1904 he had just finished walking along a tightrope across Niagra Falls…” and once you’ve finished the story, you might say, “I’m going to be in that wheelbarrow with you.”

Tags for your storybank: #TheGreatBlondin #TightRope #Accountability #Support

Source: Abbott, K 2011, The Daredevil of Niagra Falls, Smithsonian

Note: It’s likely this story is a relatively recently crafted joke that used Charles Blondin for inspiration. Blondin’s real name was Jean-Francois Gravelet.

A storybank is where you store all of your stories. This could be a physical notebook, but we find that using a system like Evernote to be a more popular approach. You can even use Evernote to create tags, making it easier to find stories when you need them.

To be an effective business storyteller requires practice. Our programs are designed to work in a no-nonsense way in a business setting combined with lots of practical tools and tips and ways to practice. Learn more here

Shelley Fenech About  Shelley Fenech

Shelley is a recent Strategic Communication graduate and assists with all things communication. She helps to progress our purpose to help restore humanity to organisations by telling our story through marketing and social media. She also supports our global Partner network in their quest to bring storytelling into business.

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