Archive for 2015


Improve your writing – do not mention stories

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —March 11, 2015
Filed in Business storytelling

Imagine you’re in an audience with 100 colleagues. You’re waiting to hear from your leader. It’s the monthly briefing. He takes the stage. A quiet rolls across the audience. He clears his throat and says, “I’d like to tell you a story.” What are you thinking when he says that? What’s your gut response? Most people […]

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Meeting in Europe

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —March 1, 2015
Filed in News

I head off to Europe on Saturday. I’ll be speaking at the World Communication Forum in Davos on the 10-11 March and then heading over to Berlin to run a public Storytelling for Leaders program in Berlin. At the Berlin event we will welcoming some new partners to Anecdote from Belgium and the UK, which is exciting. We’re still keen […]

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How to stop your change program from stalling

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —February 24, 2015
Filed in Business storytelling, Culture, Strategy

Every large change program invariably starts with enthusiasm, good intentions and an energy spike, even if there are naysayers. But as time wears on, it’s easy for everyone to lose sight of the company’s higher purpose. When that happens, morale – and ultimately performance – slumps. And when a company slides into a dip, it often […]

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Effective vision statements evoke imagery

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —February 12, 2015
Filed in Strategy

In 2014, with the help of several colleagues, Andrew Carton, Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School, set about studying how the specific language of leader rhetoric impacts on productivity. The researchers analysed the vision statements of 151 American hospitals, looking specifically at those related to cardiology units. They wanted […]

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How to develop the vital habit of noticing stories

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —February 4, 2015
Filed in Business storytelling

Develop your own search image for stories Once you’ve developed the ability to spot stories, the next habit is to actively notice them. Early in the 20th century biologists observed how animals, such as birds, learn how to notice a specific variety of prey and how they become extremely good at finding them. For example, […]

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A prescription for influence: The two story solution for change

Posted by  Amanda Marko —January 23, 2015
Filed in Business storytelling, Communication

The problem with a negative story Being negative is an easy trap to fall into. When trying to prove a point or change someone’s mind, the natural tendency is to use a story that has a negative point-of-view to warn against an outcome and perhaps shock the listener a little. The problem with a negative […]

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Why aren’t we telling stories in business?

Posted by  Mark Schenk —January 20, 2015
Filed in Business storytelling

There are many reasons why stories are not used in business settings. One of the reasons is that every story we tell reveals something about our character, and we tend to be very protective of our character. Another reason is an unwillingness to give out any personal information. Turn what you say into a story […]

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A simple method to help you to remember stories

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 15, 2015
Filed in Business storytelling

The most effective use of business storytelling is when you can tell a story to make a point off the cuff, no preparation. This can only happen if you remember stories to tell. A good way to do that is to simply tell stories as soon as you can after finding them. Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve […]

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The link between memory and stories

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 8, 2015
Filed in Business storytelling

The link between memory and stories is tightly woven. You can’t understand story without understanding memory. Our evolution has gifted us with some interesting memory quirks including our natural urge to preference a complete story over one where essential parts are missing. I’ve felt this effect keenly on my first visit to Washington DC. I was […]

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