Archive: 2013


First Public Speech From Nelson Mandela After His Release From Prison

Many have correlated storytelling expertise with leadership. Even McKinsey, home to “let the data guide your decision making,” has articulated this point. Which brings me to the pure definition of leadership, Nelson Mandela While the front-page stories on Nelson Mandela’s death have recounted his life’s journey, I thought it would be interesting to dust off …more

The Day I Went Rogue on PR Messaging

After being chastised by the National Storytelling Network – “You, Mr. Hoffman, are no storyteller” – I’d like to start with a ground rule on nomenclature. When it comes to business communications, I consider storytelling to be shorthand for “storytelling techniques.” In other words, PR practitioners don’t have the luxury of 200 pages or 90 …more

Storytelling in Seven Seconds

The PR profession must embrace visual storytelling. How’s that for a declarative sentence that leaves nothing to interpretation? We’ve discussed visual elements ranging from infographics to video to illustrations. It’s now time to turn our attention to the humble GIF (graphics interchange format), perfect for short-form storytelling. If GIFs are good enough for BuzzFeed, which …more

Levity is the Killer App for Business Storytelling

Notice I said “levity,” not “funny” which is a much higher bar. Still, it often takes guts as much as creativity to bring levity to a brand’s storytelling. And if you can tap into a recent happenstance, you’ve got the makings for a story to reach the masses. I’ve come to call this “improv marketing” …more

Fiction That Cultivates Your Business Storytelling Chops

Some of the best storytellers on the planet are novelists. Past posts have borrowed from novelists. This one comes at the genre from a different angle. I asked five communicators from varied worlds to share their favorite novel for advancing storytelling acuity from a business context. The end result is a mix of reading deserving …more

If You Love Books, You’ll Love This Bookstore

I enjoy leaving the realm of business communications once in a while for the purity of storytelling. It doesn’t get more pure than the “Bookshop Santa Cruz.” Every time I step into the store a sense of discovery washes over me (and under me). After spending the better part of a Saturday afternoon at the …more

Out-of-office Email as a Platform for Storytelling

There’s been much discussion including in this forum on the importance of storytelling techniques in social media. Yet, the opportunity is bigger than just social media,. So many online interactions lend themselves to storytelling and ultimately fortifying the brand, even those that fall under the “mundane” category. In fact, you could make an argument that …more

Stop Misrepresenting Storytelling!

Judging from the comment in my post, “Can Storytelling Differentiate a PR Agency,” and an email that arrived shortly after (more on this in a minute), I appear to have gotten the attention of the National Storytelling Network. They’re not pleased with me. In my defense, I have come clean on numerous occasions making the …more