Stories or just the facts?

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 6, 2010
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling

Bob Dickman, who wrote Elements of Persausion, just sent me this note that has this thought provoking story in it which I though you would like. If you are in California you might like to attend his storytelling workshop.

I’ve just returned from visiting some friends of mine in Maui. They told me an amazing story.

800 miles off the Hawaiian coast, an oil tanker caught on fire, and the blaze moved so quickly that the captain didn’t have time to radio for help. Fortunately an American cruise ship was nearby, and the entire crew was rescued. But as the cruise ship began sailing away, someone heard barking coming from the tanker. The tanker’s captain realized that his dog, a small brown and white terrier named Hokget, had been left on board. When the cruise reached port, passengers immediately alerted the Humane Society about the missing dog. Soon the news media was winging the story all around the world, and checks began pouring in. One check was for $5,000. Public pressure was so great that the US Navy and Coast Guard sent ships and planes to find Hokget. Eventually he was rescued alive and returned safely to Hawaii. It has been estimated that millions of dollars were spent in recovering that one little terrier.

What happened? Why did this dog capture the imagination and resources of all these people? After all, we live in a world where millions of children (as well as countless dogs and cats) go hungry every day. This little terrier had a name and his plight was told as a story rather than a statistic. People responded because they felt something immediate and visceral. They were moved to take action. Statistics and abstractions don’t make people act, stories do.

When facts and emotion combine to produce a story, people will act. Facts alone are too distant and cold. They produce indifference.
Are you differentiating yourself from your competition using facts alone? What stories are you telling about your business? Are they abstract and distant, or do they engage people and get them excited about your new business ideas, products and services?
Come to the August 21st workshop with author and master storyteller Bob Dickman. Work on your story in a positive, engaging and creative environment. Practice and improve your story making abilities. Turn indifference into action.

There are four spaces left for the August Workshop.



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:

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