Anecdote’s will be checked and re-checked

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —February 27, 2008
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling

Expect any anecdote you tell to be tested and retested, especially if you are a politician. Barrack Obama is a storyteller par excellence and so when he recounts a story you can bet there is an army of doubters checking out its validity. Here is the anecdote in question reported in the New Republic.

“You know, I’ve heard from an Army captain who was the head of a rifle platoon–supposed to have 39 men in a rifle platoon. Ended up being sent to Afghanistan with 24 because 15 of those soldiers had been sent to Iraq. And as a consequence, they didn’t have enough ammunition, they didn’t have enough humvees. They were actually capturing Taliban weapons, because it was easier to get Taliban weapons than it was for them to get properly equipped by our current commander in chief.”

The same is true for organisational leaders. Don’t get lazy. Don’t think you can slip one past without employees noticing that you are garnishing the facts. Good stories are retold and good stories are checked out. Authenticity is the key.

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:

2 Responses to “Anecdote’s will be checked and re-checked”

  1. Matthew Says:

    Interestingly a recent Analysis program on BBC Radio 4 made almost exactly the opposite point, that politicians use storytelling to deceive us.

  2. Anna Says:

    If you use a story that’s very common, it’s especially important to make sure it’s true – at a recent seminar on management I went to the speaker told a story which was immediately picked up on as an urban myth by the audience. He was slightly embarrassed!

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