Art of Message

Art of Message – July 17, 2023

The best storyteller I ever met ✨

A CEO should be careful about when to use storytelling – resist its allure.

“The really important issues of this world are ultimately decided by the story that grabs the most attention and is repeated most often”
Annette Simmons, Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins

Let’s file one this under “sad but true”. In the car ride of life, do you prefer a new story, or an often repeated one?

Simmons’ thinking echoes David Gergen, who once introduced a communications strategy called “Story of the Day” to his new boss, US President Ronald Reagan. That’s mass communications thinking and it’s dated.

Anyway, the best storyteller I ever met was … drumroll…

it depends. (Sorry)

It depends on:

  • the storyteller’s background
  • the audience
  • the story itself
  • how it’s told

You might say that the goal isn’t to be the best storyteller but the right storyteller.

And good timing doesn’t hurt 🤷‍♂️

There’s also something else: knowing when and whether to tell a story in the first place. BTW, maybe we overuse the word storytelling and its synonym, narrative?

In “Seduced by Story”, Peter Brooks sardonically points out that the “Starr Report”, the official investigation into the conduct of Bill Clinton preceding his impeachment, contained this headline above its findings:

“The Narrative.”

Wait, is it a congressional report related to a consequential legal matter – or is it a story? Also, shouldn’t judge and jury decide the story, not a prosecutor?

How about sometimes we offer something else – facts, opinions, research, code, flavor. And others can make that into a story if they wish.

The best storyteller I ever met (ie the best one for me) was – is – very judicious about when to tell a story. I’ll reveal his other storytelling qualities in the next one.

The message above comes from…
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