Testing One, Two, Three ...


In the spirit of experimentation in communications, our London team has geeked out a podcast studio.

I made the guest list when I was in town last month — I’d like to think my title had nothing to do with this honor — to discuss storytelling and specifically our Periodic Table of Storytelling.

period table of Hoffman's Storytelling Techniques mentioned in podcast

The photo of our podcast studio includes our European MD Mark Pinsent, the host of the show, and Patrizia Heun, who serves as producer, and me.

Everyone touts the wonders of storytelling: “Step into my tent and I’ll show you how this tonic called storytelling can cause bald men to grow hair.” Yet these same people conveniently fail to mention that storytelling by the classic definition calls for something to go wrong, some type of failure, and companies aren’t keen to proactively articulate their failures. I’ve never had a CEO sit down with me and ask “Well Lou, what’s gone wrong this quarter that we can leverage in our communications efforts?”

Our answer to this quandary is the Periodic Table of Storytelling — techniques that lift content and increase the entertainment quotient.

That’s what we kicked around, a few elements from this methodology.

Spoiler alert —

We did tackle the often misunderstood technique, “sausage making.”

Have a listen.


video still from podcast studio with Mark, Patrizia, and Lou




  • Dude

    Meanwhile . . . Somewhere between Abby Road and the Londinium Batcave (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Londinium_(Batman), Lou Hoffman makes sausage . . .

    Food for thought [sic]:
    Like an interesting story or Blog, good sausage has a recipe. One that’s been patiently created, so that it builds an audience. And ultimately is diligently followed. Otherwise, the “recipe” will get tossed out in the name of time, revenue need and lack of planning by managers in a hurry who have a new product introduction. “Why do we need to follow the recipe?” they’ll ask. “Our new solution is robust, and raises the bar going forward.”

    Also, story purveyors face the constant motivation to change and adjust their “recipe” to meet the evolving tastes of the audience. But changing a recipe is risky; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. People preoccupy and their pressured pea-brain palates are persnickety. So . . . how do you adjust your storytelling / make sausage that’s appealing, that still conveys the strength of message, without losing its character?

    S L O W L Y.

    Keep the flavor and style. Don’t change just to change. Lest you lose your audience.

    Add audio and video based on the storyline/plan that you’ve established. Don’t just do it to do it.

    And don’t do it half-assed or badly. Do it well b/c it may get more airtime than the words themselves.

    Otherwise, you’ll find yourself crawling inside the sausage machine to tinker and fuss with the recipe — and you’ll end up like Dunderbeck — when the CEO comes along and gives the crank a hell of a yank. https://www.wlcamp.org/tradition/songs/49-dunderbecks-machine.html

    Tally ho.

    • Lou Hoffman

      I’ve extended the sausage making metaphor further than I thought possible.

      Well done!


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