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Business Storytelling by Cynthia Hartwig of Two Pens

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Anyone familiar with the Bible and Aesop’s fables already knows that stories are the oldest persuasive tool since the dawn of time. And now everybody from the The Wall Street Journal to LinkedIn is saying that storytelling will be the number one business skill needed in the next five years. That’s why you should run, don’t walk, to see the hands-on business storytelling workshop with Cynthia Hartwig, fiction writer and co-founder of Two Pens.

Over the course of her career in advertising and social media, Cynthia Hartwig has honed the act of telling stories into a fun and practical art. She’ll lead you in a series of practice-makes-perfect exercises that will help you to persuade, excite, sell and sway people to your point of view.

You’ll see how stories can be used in all kinds of business settings to communicate and connect with employees, customers, colleagues, partners, suppliers, and the media.
You’ll learn the mechanics of telling a story with a beginning that hooks you, to a middle that builds tension, to a satisfying end.

You’ll learn how to weave rich information (even numbers) with personal insights and emotional power and then experience the thrill of having an audience remember what you’ve said. Many writing exercises are included to help you tap into the mind’s unique hard-wiring that can create a story out of almost any experience.

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Business Storytelling by Cynthia Hartwig of Two Pens

  1. 1. Business Storytelling Cynthia Hartwig, June 17, 2014
  2. 2. I want to start by telling you a story…
  3. 3. “Every few minutes, a new buzzword rips through the business world, skids, gets a few quick books written on it, and ends up in a pile of tired terms next to "synergy." Today, one of the biggest corporate buzzwords is "storytelling." Marketers are obsessed with storytelling, and conference panels on the subject lately have fewer empty seats than a Bieber concert.” --Shane Snow, Linked In
  4. 4. Tony Hsieh, CEO of ZAPPOS http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CD0PC nFRFc&feature=share&list=PL041175D98 FDFF815&index=30
  5. 5. Class covers these topics. 1. The scientific and not-so-scientific case for telling stories. (Fact vs. Hype) 2. The art of telling your own stories (practice). 3. Story structure: how to bend it to your own purposes. 4. When and how to use stories to persuade and gain trust.
  6. 6. Ed Gavagan: Knots & Surgeons http://on.ted.com/gavagan
  7. 7. Ed Gavagan: Business Bio • Design/builder of sustainable homes, buildings & furniture at PraxisNYC • Work now featured on the cover of Elle Décor, in Architectural Digest, the NY Times, Architectural Record, Global Architecture and books worldwide • TED Video seen by 600,000 people, Moth stories by double that • Business has seen double digit growth since first Moth appearance.
  8. 8. WRITING PRACTICE 101 1. Keep your hand moving. No stopping. 2. No crossing out, no editing, no worries about grammar or spelling. 3. This is about thinking on paper.
  9. 9. INTRO EXERCISE Tell us a story about the best or the worst presentation you’ve ever seen.
  10. 10. ) Your Brain on Stories
  11. 11. “… the brains of participants were scanned as they read sentences like “John grasped the object” and “Pablo kicked the ball.” The scans revealed activity in the motor cortex, which coordinates the body’s movements. What’s more, this activity was concentrated in one part of the motor cortex when the movement … was arm-related and in another …when the movement concerned the leg.” --Veronique Boulenger, Laboratory of Language Dynamics
  12. 12. “… a team of researchers from Emory University reported in Brain & Language that when subjects in their laboratory read a metaphor involving texture, the sensory cortex, responsible for perceiving texture through touch, became active.” NY Times: Your Brain on Fiction
  13. 13. What Stories Do to the Brain is Akin to What Touching Does to Other Parts of the Body. Pleasure Centers light up!
  14. 14. EXERCISE 1. Mindmap a list of stories you’ve heard and liked over the years. 2. Pick your favorite and write about what chord the story strikes in you.
  15. 15. When you submit to a story, you submit cognitively and emotionally.
  16. 16. We allow ourselves to be invaded.
  17. 17. Stories Make Us Feel
  18. 18. “We don’t pay attention to boring things.” --John Medina, biologist, author of “Brain Rules
  19. 19. “We don’t learn without emotional thought.” --Antonio Damasio, USC Professor of Neuroscience, author of Descartes’ Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain
  20. 20. Words like “lavender,” “cinnamon” and “soap,” for example, elicit a response not only from the language-processing areas of our brains, but also those devoted to dealing with smells. New York Times: Your Brain on Fiction
  21. 21. Exercise: write for 3 minutes about a word that “moved” you in a story you read or watched. New York Times: Your Brain on Fiction
  22. 22. The technology of story changes—from oral tales, to clay tablets, to medieval codices, to printed books, to movie screens, iPads, and Kindles. But the stories themselves don’t ever change. Jonathan Gottschall, The StoryTelling Animal
  23. 23. Studies have shown that readers of fiction are more empathetic, have better social skills, and are generally more understanding than their non-fiction reading counterparts.
  24. 24. Story Hasn’t Diminished. It’s Morphed. Average American now reads 20 minutes a day. We spend 5 hours/day watching TV or movies.
  25. 25. Story Hasn’t Diminished. It’s Morphed. We hear 5 hours per day of music; the most popular music tells stories.
  26. 26. Story Hasn’t Diminished. It’s Morphed. We spend 2 hours night in active dreaming (story practice while asleep).
  27. 27. Story Hasn’t Diminished. It’s Morphed. • Daydreaming is the mind’s default state. • The avg. day dream is 14 sec. long. • We have 2000 per day. • We spend 1/3 of our lives daydreaming.
  28. 28. Throw out examples of storytelling that is masquerading as something else: • Pro Wrestling • Televised sports i.e. Olympic “backgrounders” • Television “docudramas” • ? Your ideas?
  29. 29. This is a universal story where everyone puts themselves on the time line.
  30. 30. Fiction has always shaped our attitudes, actions, and values more than we admit. • Hitler’s fascination with Wagner mythology influenced his thinking on Aryan purity • Harriett Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin drove public opinion against slavery in the US • E.L. James Fifty Shades of Gray is affecting mainstream attitudes to S&M and bondage
  31. 31. We love characters. Make up a story about what is going on here.
  32. 32. Secrets are always powerful.
  33. 33. Write down something you’ve never told anyone.
  34. 34. Great storytelling comes from the gap between expectation and result. --Guy Bergstrom
  35. 35. --Charles Baxter, Burning Down the House. is story-friendly.
  36. 36. Write down a story about yourself. Tell us something revealing, the more personal, the better.
  37. 37. The story I absolutely don’t want to tell is…
  38. 38. The Inverse Rule of Story Pain: When you tell something painful about yourself, you look tougher.
  39. 39. Bonus points if the story is embarrassing, criminal or other-wise cringe-worthy.
  40. 40. Reading on the page and hearing a story read out loud are completely different.
  41. 41. This American Life: Wedding Bells and Door Bells Elizabeth Gilbert http://www.thisamericanlife.org/r adio-archives/episode/234/say- anything?act=4
  42. 42. Go back to your personal story and write about what your story says that’s universal.
  43. 43. Lunch!
  44. 44. The afternoon session is devoted to techniques useful for telling “smaller” stories that are not so emotionally charged and suited for business.
  45. 45. Let’s connect the dots between business and stories. 1. It’s a myth that business and purchase decisions are rational. They’re emotional. 2. Stories play on our emotions. 3. People connect best to personal stories: most powerful, most convincing. 4. Customer stories, employee stories, vendor stories, are all good but none trump the personal story.
  46. 46. GROUP BRAINSTORMING EXERCISE: Where/how can you use your own stories?
  47. 47. KAY ALLISON LINKEDIN PROFILE
  48. 48. Make your point. Then tell the story that reinforces the point.
  49. 49. Make your point. Then tell the story that reinforces the point.
  50. 50. Theoretically, your story should hit a sweet spot with your audience. What will resonate?
  51. 51. Ways to reveal information: If people know you and like you, you can present the recommendation first, then make the case.
  52. 52. Ways to reveal information: If people don’t know you or are hostile, you need to work up to the recommendation with proof.
  53. 53. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLYK9RC1mTw#t=294 An “Origin” Story for SinusBusters
  54. 54. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsBuFnAg0nU Story of Chip Conley, Founder of joie de vivre Hotels
  55. 55. The http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpG8AVVUehM&fea ture=share&list=PLxq_lXOUlvQBxUAvW7eXx4lNYMo AJy7Kt&index=2 Mark Dwight: Micro-Manufacturing Entrepreneur
  56. 56. Let’s mind-map a variety of customer stories that have impressed you.
  57. 57. ANATOMY OF A QUICKIE CUSTOMER STORY: 1. Who? 2. What Do They Do? 3. What Makes Them Special or Different? 4. Results That Sum Up Their Success
  58. 58. LIMOR FRIED OF ADAFRUIT 1. Who? Limor Fried, who earned her masters in electrical engineering and computer science at MIT, runs Adafruit industries, which sells do-it-yourself electronics kits. 2. What Do They Do? For every kit Adafruit sells, Fried posts design files, schematics for circuit boards, and any software code needed.
  59. 59. 3. What Makes Them Special or Different? "People want to see the world become a better place through science and engineering," Fried says. "We're going to need the current and future generations to get inspired.” LIMOR FRIED OF ADAFRUIT
  60. 60. Forty years of research says that if you use pictures of people, your audience will remember your information longer and relate to you better. Visualization 101: IN A CUSTOMER STORY, THINK OF “WHO?” & “WHAT DO THEY DO?” AS METAPHORICAL LONG SHOTS. IT’S A MACRO VIEW OF THE PERSON.
  61. 61. Forty years of research says that if you use pictures of people, your audience will remember your information longer and relate to you better. Visualization 101: “What Makes Them Different?” is a Close Up.
  62. 62. LIMOR FRIED OF ADAFRUIT 4 Results That Sum Up Their Success She welcomes people to use the information, and sees it as a way to foster innovation. "People want to see the world become a better place through science and engineering," Fried says. "We're going to need the current and future generations to get inspired."
  63. 63. Lizzy O’Leary on “How to Tell a Story with Numbers” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kMydB5l9Ns
  64. 64. Incorporate visuals to illustrate your story. Visuals double excitement.
  65. 65. You now work for Starbucks. You have been asked to develop a campaign to sell coffee during the run up to Halloween. Think of a story that relates.
  66. 66. You work for Monsanto and you are introducing a new environmentally sensitive pesticide that doesn’t hurt the native fruit bats. Tell us a story about how you were introduced to nature.
  67. 67. You are marketing for Sharpie. You have been asked to create a viral (ha!) video showcasing the best street graffiti artists in Chicago. Tell us a story about what makes you relate to them?
  68. 68. YOU CAN RUN ANY COMMUNICATION THROUGH THE PRISM OF STORY 1. Does it tell the story that you are out of touch with the latest technology? … that you understand mobile technology? 2. Does it tell the story of professionalism or that you used a DIY website builder… 3. Does it help you spread the ideas associated with your products and services or is it just a list of what you do? --Robert McKey, author of STORY
  69. 69. Tan Le’s Immigration Story Why does this kill us? http://www.ted.com/talks/tan_le_my_imm igration_story
  70. 70. The structure and craft of storytelling.
  71. 71. Change is the one constant in every story. If everything stays the same, there’s no story.
  72. 72. CLASSIC STORY STRUCTURE MIDPOINT (where something changes that can’t be reversed) BEGINNING CLIMAX END (ARISTOTLE’S INCLINE)
  73. 73. EVERY STORY HAS A BEGINNING, A MIDDLE AND AN END.
  74. 74. 1. One day, there was ___. 2. Every day, ___. 3. One day ___. 4. Because of that, ___. 5. Because of that, ___. 6. Until finally ___. --Pixar’s 22 Amazing Story Rules
  75. 75. To lock your story into progressive action, do these three writes: 1. In the beginning of my story, my character has to… 2. By the middle of my story, my character is forced to… 3. By the end of my story, my character has learned…
  76. 76. DETAILS The smallest details usually carries the largest emotional load. Focus on the gum wrapper on the hall floor versus the amputee sobbing.
  77. 77. DETAILS Write about a time that something hurtful happened to you. Describe just one detail of the scene where it happened in the language of sadness.
  78. 78. DETAILS “Each word is a daub of paint.” --John Gotschall, Storytelling Animal
  79. 79. METAPHOR Come up with one metaphor that amplifies the sadness by making one thing “become” another.
  80. 80. Write about what you know (or hate) about yourself as a storyteller.
  81. 81. Don’t Regret Regret By Kathryn Schulz TEDVideos.com http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/kathryn_sch ulz_don_t_regret_regret.html
  82. 82. When My Mommas Fight Snap Judgment https://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=-Lug_IxFKo8#t=339
  83. 83. The Man Who Walked Around the World Johnny Walker Brand Story https://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=MnSIp76CvUI#t=363
  84. 84. Follow Two Pens http://www.twopens.com @twopens2 cynthia@twopens.com

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