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Tell Your Story Newsletter . . . . .

Welcome Mid-July 2020!

Article One (Cont’d): “How to create your own story collection,” with Nancy Duarte 

(2) Create a “story catalogue”: Once you’ve collected some stories that you can use in various situations, take your list and create a “story catalog” you can turn to— an alphabetical journal or spreadsheet with summaries. You may want to sort your stories by situation, theme, mood or moral or by what is most valuable to you.

Lots of speakers and writers draw on a story catalog when they confront their own mortality (e.g. Steve Jobs). Duarte says that by taking stock of essential stories in your life now and cataloging them while you still can, you’ll have access to them when a crisis time occurs, so that then you will “live more fully and have a greater impact on others.”

(3) She also recommends that you choose stories with your audience in mind. Remember who will receive the stories that you tell. Some stories may be lighthearted, even hilarious; others will be painful; some may stir hope.  Different listeners will respond differently. Consider who is in your audience and what their values, goals and interests are. Choose a story that fits that persona best.

For instance, Duarte discusses the influence of your audience’s gender and race as factors influencing how you choose your stories: women audiences like to hear stories of a person overcoming childhood adversity, for instance, because it encourages resilience in the face of suffering.

By contrast, men can be appealed to through stories that evoke quests for empathy. Duarte says that when she speaks to Asian audiences, she chooses stories of failure, of protagonists overcoming hardship to succeed at something (i.e. cautionary tales about what you learn from failure).

What market pressure is on the minds of your audience? What issues are current in their industry? Duarte recommends reading what your audience is blogging about and what news is developing in their organizations or niches, to see what obstacles they face.

The next time you need to speak, Duarte says, ask yourself why you are uniquely qualified to be the guide of your particular audience.  How can you guide that audience?

Identify stories from when you were on a similar journey, faced parallel kinds of obstacles and emerged anew or resilient—“and find the courage to share them.”

I’ll close this summary of Duarte’s article with her own words on the value and power of accessing one’s deepest stories:

“Telling a personal story from a place of conviction is the most powerful communication device you have.  [It’s] what the greatest and most beloved        communicators do. They risk transparently revealing their vulnerabilities so that they can be mentors and guides who relate to people from places of    universal needs and hardships. They connect to the audience and remind us that we are all human.”

Who can imagine a better pursuit or use of time and storytelling than that?



Article two (Cont’d): Storyteller’s Corner–What is “negative capability?”

Keats was referring to a poetic ability “to efface one’s own mental identity by immersing it sympathetically and spontaneously within the subject described” (Baldick, 168).

He found that capacity, which is similar to what we would term empathy, in Shakespeare but in few other great writers and storytellers. It is not an easy space to occupy.

This capacity of poets (or other storytellers) for “negative capability” is not about them claiming knowledge in an  imperializing gesture of control over other people and things, but on the contrary, is about sharing stories in which we readers (and listeners) can find our thoughts and feelings reflected encouragingly.

What stories of your life and work can you share, as an entrepreneur or leader, that show that you do not “know everything,” but instead offer empathy (or “negative capability”) that encourages the reader or listener? 


Thank you for reading! Please return for the August issue of “Tell Your Story Newsletter.”  Stay safe and stay in touch!



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