Category: Humanity

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The Best Obituary I Have Ever Read

As a student of business writing, I don’t turn to obituaries for inspiration (probably a good thing). The typical obit adheres to a formula that goes something like this: He or she passed away Source of fame Key achievements Surviving family There’s a reason that newspapers assign the “obit beat” to newly hired college grads. …more

Is $4 Toast and the Tech Industry Still Ruining San Francisco?

Yesterday marked the three-year anniversary since VentureBeat and Jolie O’Dell’s focus group of one correlated expensive toast to the decline of San Francisco. The O’Dell discourse came with jagged edges, damning the tech industry for a cycle that goes something like this: Someone creates a business for consumers with too much money and pretensions of …more

Irish Fans Bring Contrarian Storytelling to the Euro Cup

Playing a quick game of word association with European soccer fans conjures words like hooligans, violence and racism. When my family lived in the UK, my youngest son and I took in a match between West Ham and Liverpool at storied Anfield.The section for the West Ham supporters was literally wired off with police on …more

The “F Word” in Storytelling and Business

Failure. Point to a movie or a book that captivates, and I’ll show you failure. Shrek. Absolutely. Something more high-brow, like the best-selling novel “A Little Life.” Again, failure underpins the story. For it’s the failure — something going horribly awry, the more pain the better — that creates the tension in a story. As …more

Goodness in Stories of Conflict

As a storyteller, I often combine sad stories with one another. Mostly with a positive outcome, but often I use stories without a happy ending. Stories where listeners really have to think about what they just learned. Stories where there is no gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s amazing when such stories evoke …more

Micro Moments in Brand Building: The Good, the Bad and the Unattractive

Companies underestimate the power of micro moments in brand building. As the world and specifically business communications increasingly tilt toward the digital sphere, . This holds true for all companies, whether B2B or consumer. Starting with “the bad and unattractive,” an interaction with LinkedIn last week reminded me of this point. I think I’m on …more

Revisiting the Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have A Dream” Speech

The holiday celebrating the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. prompted me to dust off the “I Have Dream” speech. It’s a revealing exercise to read the text of the speech rather than watch and listen to the speech. King was such a gifted orator, you get the feeling he could recite the owner’s manual …more

Five Storytelling Techniques to Give Business Communications Liftoff

Storytelling is the new “black” when it comes to business communications. To understand the plight of storytelling, consider the chart put together by our crack research group using Factiva to search on the number of articles containing the word “storytelling” in general and business publications.The data doesn’t exactly quantify the communications profession embracing storytelling. Still, …more