09 Jun: What silent films reveal about great storytelling

A recent trip to the Castro Theater during the Silent Film Festival immersed me in a surreal experience. It was simple, delightful and innocent. It was back to the basics of storytelling. We watched movies made by the Amazing Charlie Bowers, a comedian that used animation and invention themes to tell his stories. The single most powerful way great stories are told is allowing the audience to fill in the blanks. Michel Hazanavicius, the French director of the award winning film The Artist, which took home 5 Oscars including best film and director in 2012 said it best in an interview with The Atlantic “The less you do, the more the audience does”. He recounts a film by Fritz Lang called M, where the killer in the movie grabs a girl with a balloon and the camera follows the balloon. There is no violence, just the balloon. What happened? What…

30 May: Storytelling tips #7: Use it to motivate

One of the biggest factor of productivity and retention for employees is feeling connected to the organization. By constantly telling stories from your customers, you help the organization understand their purpose and how each individual contributes to the customer experience. In the medical device industry, patients are often brought into the companies to share how the products have touched their lives through touching and thoughtful stories. Use those stories, we all deserve them.

24 May: Storytelling tip #4: What’s your AIM?

The purpose of a story is to influence. In order to craft a story that can elicit a desired response, work from your audience’s perspective. Who are you talking to? What are their beliefs? What do you want them to do? What do they need to understand in order to take that action? Answer these questions as a foundation to building your story. A clear message means a compelling story. You can find other storytelling resources on the #9story9 page. Enjoy!

15 May: Storytelling tip #3: Use your experiences

It’s tempting to write about an alien civilization or a mystery happening in the Amazon, but Ricky Gervais, in an interview with Fast Company talks about how it is best to stick with what we know and find something extraordinary to build a story around. Focus on the story and skip the spaceships… You can find other storytelling resources on the #9story9 page. Enjoy!

06 May: Storytelling tip #2: Words matter

The most memorable parts of a story or performance is the beginning and at the end. To really leave a lasting impression, focus on specific words to kick off your presentation strong and with the right tone. For your ending, make sure it’s impactful and addresses your promise at the beginning for a powerful cathartic ending. JD Schramm: Youtube video You can find other storytelling resources on the #9story9 page. Enjoy!

02 May: Storytelling tip #1: Start in the middle

Grab the attention of your audience by jumping into the story. A slow buildup is boring and expected. “The house was eerily still and quiet that afternoon…” is much better than “Hi, I’m really happy to be here today… blah blah blah”. Try it for yourself, start in the middle. You can always introduce your topic later. JD Schramm: Youtube video You can find other storytelling resources on the #9story9 page. Enjoy!

13 Apr: Don’t complete your visual story

A picture says a thousand words? Maybe it needs to be less verbose. A picture that tells an entire story is stable, it’s safe, it says it all. You get nods when you tell an entire story using a picture. A picture of an apple is just that, an apple. Your audience will look at it, acknowledge and move on. A picture of an apple while having a headline that reads “Apple” is just plain condescending to your audience. Don’t ever do that. But a picture of an apple with a headline that reads “Orange”, now there’s intrigue. Just like a real story, give your audience a reason to be hooked, give them a gap between expectation and reality, give them a reason not to pass on your real story that is yet to be told.

29 Nov: Content overload

There is so much content in the world today. Every company wants to publish content, every organization is trying to get your attention. In addition, every person in the world is potentially a media channel. With this much content in the world, how is it even possible to get your word out? From the perspective of a consumer of information, how do you expect to find the stories you care about? With options and a multitude of choices, a paralysis of sorts naturally arises. As humans, we will continue to stick with a few channels that give us information. It used to be the 9 o’clock news, now it’s the twitter and Facebook feed. Do I really want these channels to curate content for me? Perhaps we need to get back to the fundamentals: For organizations: – Spread your word one person at a time, through conviction, emotion and a…