Archive for 2008


Please elaborate

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —October 7, 2008
Filed in Business storytelling

Examples, especially in the form of stories, help us make sense of what someone is saying. This is partly because when we listen to an example we are using our natural pattern matching abilities (something our brain has evolved to excel in) to link the example with our own experience. We then adjust our understanding […]

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MLA London knowledge transfer project

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —October 6, 2008
Filed in Business storytelling

MLA stands for Museums and Libraries Association and my friend Victoria Ward has recently finished a tremendous project using narrative techniques to help MLA London understand and enhance the way in which Museums and Libraries are used in London. The bonanza for narrative and knowledge practitioners is that the MLA and Sparknow (Victoria’s company) have […]

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In storytelling manipulative?

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —October 3, 2008
Filed in Business storytelling

Here is my test for whether a skill is manipulative: “Would it lose its power if people knew exactly what you were doing and why?” If the answer is yes, if the technique loses its power in the light of day, then it’s manipulative and I don’t want any part of it. – David Maxfield […]

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Common Ground and the Role of Stories

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —October 3, 2008
Filed in Anecdotes, Collaboration

Last week Mark and I agreed to each develop a plan detailing how we were going to meet our targets. I opened up Excel and created a spreadsheet showing the number of days I was working with each of my clients. Mark opened Word and eloquently wrote how he was going to achieve his objectives. […]

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Practising the art of creating possibilities

Posted by  chandni —October 2, 2008
Filed in Anecdotes, Fun

People respond so differently to new ideas. While some people jump with excitement at the thought of new possibilities and irrational ideas, unfamiliarity can others uncomfortable, give up, or find it safe to be a skeptic. This is so well illustrated in this conversation between Alice and the queen in Through the Looking Glass. “I […]

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Brain rules

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —September 30, 2008
Filed in Insight

I’m reading John Medina’s Brain Rules and thoroughly enjoying it. Here’s a snippet illustrating his humorous style while making an important point. Any learning environment that deals with only the database instincts [our ability to memorise things] or only the improvisatory instincts [our ability to imagine things] ignores one half of our ability. It is […]

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Brand stories

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

Marketing folk confuse me sometimes. For example, they talk about brand stories yet they forget the story bit. For example, if you Google the phrase “brand story” the top hit is a blog post by Mark Thomson. Reading his post you’d be forgiven for thinking stories are superfluous to crafting a brand story because while […]

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What Business Leaders can learn from Politicians: Telling stories

Posted by  chandni —September 22, 2008
Filed in Business storytelling

The world’s been carefully watching Obama vs McCain. It’s interesting to see how the media are comparing their stories: Obama’s parents’ American dream, McCain’s journey in Vietnam, Sarah Palin’s hockey mom experiences, and Joe Biddin’s childhood struggles. Who tells the best stories? Whose stories make the most impact? While politicians have mastered the art of […]

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Quote on listening

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —September 22, 2008
Filed in Communication

“The best way to persuade people is with your ears – by listening to them.” Dean Rusk listening, persuasion

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Tackling large domains in communities of practice

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —September 16, 2008
Filed in Collaboration

One of our clients is a large engineering firm (perhaps Australia’s largest) and I’ve been working with them over that last 12 months helping to establish some communities of practice. Our first one focussed on technical draftsmen and is off and running well. Their domain is well defined, they have good participation and have developed […]

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