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002 – World’s worst first day on the job

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 19, 2018
Filed in Business storytelling, Podcast

We’re reading The Power of Moments by Dan and Chip Heath and they talk about creating memorable first days. This episode features a story with a very memorable first day which you wouldn’t wish on anyone. And wrapped up in the story are insights about confidence, decision-making, the role of social networks and the limits […]

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001 – An unexpected visitor from Mars

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 18, 2018
Filed in Business storytelling, Podcast

Welcome to our new podcast. Each week Mark and I will introduce a new story you could potentially tell at work, then we will describe why it works and share some ideas of how it might be used in a business setting. By the end of year you will have about 50 stories you can […]

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A lesson in storytelling from Oprah

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —January 12, 2018
Filed in Business storytelling, Insight

Oprah Winfrey gave a powerful speech at the 2018 Golden Globes accepting the Cecil B. de Mille Award. It seems to be talked about everywhere with some even suggesting Oprah should run for the US Presidency. One of the reasons her speech was so powerful were the stories she told and how they helped the […]

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Building the storytelling habit this Christmas

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —December 22, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling

I just watched a 3-minute video advertising a course on storytelling. It was beautifully produced, of the highest quality yet there was not a single story told. It’s very easy to forget to tell a story but as we know, you don’t get the amazing benefits of storytelling unless you tell stories. So how do […]

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How to reduce your story anxiety

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —December 12, 2017
Filed in Events, Leadership Posts

Stories are stressing out our business leaders. That’s right, our leaders are getting anxious, on edge. Why? Well, as one general manager put it to me this week, ‘Everyone is talking about stories. We’re told we need to know our story—the story of our product, our program, the change we’re making. We have to find […]

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Oral storytelling techniques: how to finish your story

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —November 16, 2017
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling, Insight

There’s an incredibly strong urge that comes over us, right when we end an anecdote, to explain what the story means. This urge seems especially strong when we tell a story at work. We’ll finish it and then go on and say something like, ‘So, what this means is …’ You must resist this urge […]

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Storytelling with slides: meaning is inferred

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —September 7, 2017
Filed in Anecdotes, Business storytelling, Insight

Simple Slides I’m a big believer in simple, clear PowerPoint slides. If I’m going to talk about the 54% of people who have no idea about the company strategy, I’ll put up a slide with a big ‘54%’ in 155-point font on it, and only after I’ve spoken about it will I add any other […]

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Book Review of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 10, 2017
Filed in Collaboration, Communication, Culture, Employee Engagement

We were about 20 years too early. Back then, my group at IBM extolled the benefits of understanding organisations as complex systems – ones where it was impossible to predict how things were going to turn out; where technology and the speed of change fostered non-linear relationships; where a small thing could have a big […]

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In Praise of Shitty Storytelling

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —August 2, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Communication

Perfect stories told perfectly are suspicious. This is especially true in organisations. Business people feel more comfortable with imperfect stories. They are better received. Here’s a small example. I recently heard a government employee tell a story about a work-related change he was experiencing. Mid-story he said, ‘… and then there were some big policy […]

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Strategic storytelling: use stories to explain why

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —July 21, 2017
Filed in Business storytelling, Fun

I recently learned something of the utmost importance about stories from a world-class magician. On a trip into the city, I popped on a podcast to amuse me on the drive. This American Life is on high rotation on my iPhone and I was excited to see there was an episode called ‘The Magic Show’. […]

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