ishmaels corner

Category: Storytelling Workshops


Time for Communicators to Deviate from the Status Quo

I’ll be in Portland on April 12 talking at an IABC Oregon luncheon. I plan to use the occasion to explore whether communicators are changing fast enough. The velocity of change in today’s world can be unnerving. Cars that drive themselves. Bursts of 140-character missives that impact the Presidential election. A startup trying to invent …more

Anecdote Takes Center Stage in a National News Story

That’s exactly what happened last week when CNN covered President Obama’s intention to veto the Keystone XL pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to Mexico. Check out the headline. “Meet the pen Obama used to veto the Keystone XL pipeline.” Obviously, the focus of the story lies on a Presidential decision. Yet,  the pen …more

Contrast as a Storytelling Technique in Business Communications

In conducting our storytelling workshops, the concept of contrast is one technique that always resonates with participants. I think of contrast as a poor man’s failure. Several posts have highlighted the power of failure in lifting a narrative, but most companies won’t go there. When was the last time a CEO barked “OK, let’s focus …more

Six Narratives That Make up My Leave-behind Pack for Storytelling Workshops

One of the best parts of my job involves conducting storytelling workshops. It’s both fun and satisfying to help participants connect the dots to a simple premise: Given a choice between “interesting” and “dull,” human beings pick “interesting” virtually every time. I’m constantly refining the package shared with participants in our workshops for business storytelling. …more

My Go-to Leave-behind Package for Storytelling Workshops

I love sharing the storytelling gospel through our workshops. It’s both fun and satisfying to see the dots connect in how storytelling techniques can be applied to any type of communications coming from an organization. When I say “any,” I mean communications ranging from job descriptions to Twitter to PR to the reply triggered from …more

Tag-teaming With Pete Lewis On Storytelling Workshop, Part II

Pete Lewis and I have created a storytelling curriculum that reflects both journalism and PR perspectives. As the first the technology editor for the New York Times (personally registered the domain), Pete has some interesting takes on the media landscape and storytelling. I posted the first part of a Q&A with him last week. Here’s the …more

Tag-teaming With Pete Lewis On Storytelling Workshop

I’ve known Pete Lewis for some time, going back to his days laying the groundwork for how The New York Times covers technology. After Pete moved to Fortune to practice long-form journalism – or at least a longer form than The NYT – and later took up teaching at Stanford’s J school, I lost touch. …more

Five Interviewing Techniques for Corporate Storytelling

I’m convinced the craft of interviewing is one of the most undervalued skills in corporate storytelling. Consider PR’s version of what came first, the chicken or the egg. Would you rather enjoy an excellent relationship with a journalist, but be stuck with lame content? Or would you rather have man-bites-dog content, but no relationship with the journalist? I’ll take the …more