Posted by  Shawn Callahan —February 12, 2008
Filed in News

I’ve created a new blog category today called “questions.” I’m planning to use it to capture some of the excellent story eliciting questions I come across in our work and reading. So to kick things off here is a question from Christina Baldwin:

“Can you keep a confidence? Describe a story about confidentiality. What is important to you about confidentiality?”

We would love to hear your story. Just post it in the comments.

Baldwin, Christina. Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story. Novato, California: New World Library, 2005.

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:

3 Responses to “Questions”

  1. Terry Miller Says:

    Hi Shawn et al,
    This is, I think, in the wrong category, but in any case. . .
    What techniques or thoughts do you have about using storytelling to broaden perspectives within a small group where trust is low. ie – staff of mgmt/mgmt of staff.
    I have used narrative capture (story circles, indirect questions, MP3 recording transcribed and then cleaned of references, stories self-indexed, then revealed to all using sensemaker software) but am a bit lost as to how to overcome the risks (fear of reprisal, etc) of people telling a tough story when the story is about the person sitting across the table from them.
    thanks, Terry

  2. ken Says:

    How about the 600 million dollar question – “what can we learn from spaghetti sauce?”. When searching for the right answer can be the wrong question.
    Of course, you’ve probably seen it already, but it’s a delicious way to spend 17m42s…
    And, as a case-study in why asking closed-questions is such a bad idea, this is a squirmingly unsurpassed 5m 🙂

  3. Shawn Callahan Says:

    Hi Terry,
    When I’m faced with a difficult anecdote circle or conversation I go back to what I learned in a book call Crucial Conversations by Patterson et al. In particular you need to make the space as safe as possible for the participants. In the setup ensure you have some guidelines on the wall that encourage everyone to focus on telling their experiences, that if you disagree with a story just tell your version of what happened.
    Find a goal that everyone is interested in achieving and ensure they trust your motives. This will require some pre-work conversations before the narrative capture.
    Encourage the participants to show interest in each other stories and show agreement when they do agree.
    The facilitator should demonstrate respect for the stories by acknowledging the feelings in the circle and urge the participants to maintain respect for each other.
    When it gets too heated you need to step out of the story-telling and maintain safety then get back to collecting stories.

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