Unlock the Magic in Your Story Now

Get the Free 20 questions to Ask Before Launching Your Idea workbook when you sign up for occasional updates.

Get the Free 20 questions to Ask Before Launching Your Idea workbook when you sign up for occasional updates.

Articles filed in: Story Skills

How To Save A Story


I had so much fun talking about how to save a story, with my friend and colleague Michael Bungay Stanier on his new podcast.

Some of the things we talked about were:

  • The anatomy of a great story
  • Building resilience, trust, and connection through everyday storytelling
  • Why storytelling allows you to navigate the present and create a path to the future
The Story Skills Workshop is back by popular demand next week. You can sign up to be notified when enrollments open using this form.

Here’s to telling stories that help us shape the kind of future we want to see.

Image by Nathan Rogers

The Captive Vs. The Captivated

When people are given the microphone or stand on a stage, they have our attention, we listen. They have a captive audience for eighteen minutes, an hour or maybe a day—if they’re lucky.

Here’s the thing, you don’t need a captive audience to be heard. You need better true stories, well told. You don’t have to rely on luck to tell better stories, you can do it with intention and practice—by design.

The world is waiting, not to be held captive, but to be captivated by new voices—for the hopeful messages and stories, each of us has to tell.

You don’t need permission to take the stage. You need to find and practice telling stories that matter.

*Today is the last day to register for the current session of The Story Skills Workshop.
Here is a special link for my blog readers to join us.

Image by Tommi Boom

Influence Vs. Impact


In a world where attention has become both currency and commodity, it’s tempting to believe there’s a direct correlation between influence and impact.

The modern definition of an influencer is someone who can persuade people with their recommendations. But it turns out, the people who have the greatest impact are not necessarily the people with the most influence.

Our impact isn’t only measured in crude metrics like attention.

Think about the people who have had the most impact on your life—a patient teacher, a caring friend or a wise mentor. These people likely made a difference, with something they continually did, not just something they once told you to do.

Change happens when more people seek to be less influential and more impactful.
We get to choose which matters most.

*We’ve opened The Story Skills Workshop again this week.
If you’re ready to increase your impact, I hope you’ll join us.

Image by Monika Kosub

Are You Ready To Find Your Voice?


Eleven years ago, as I was pivoting my business, I began reading a new book. I was barely two paragraphs in when the following sentence stopped me in my tracks.

‘Either you’re going to tell stories that spread, or you will become irrelevant.’

Those words, written by my friend and colleague, Seth Godin, over a decade ago still hold true today. They inspired me to find my voice, own my story and invest in becoming a better storyteller.

Eight bestselling books later and ten years after I first read those words, Seth and I built and launched The Story Skills Workshop. We’ve been blown away by the impact it’s had on the thousands of people who have taken it.

We’ve just opened the workshop again today. If you’re looking for a proven, effective, powerful way to find your voice and your stories, I hope you’ll join us.

My blog readers can register using this discount link.

To find out more visit The Story Skills Workshop and hear what others are saying about how the workshop impacted them and their work.

Are you ready to find your voice, own your stories and create the impact you want?

Image by Wonderlane

The Myth Of The Gifted Storyteller


Over and over again, we’ve heard people like Steve Jobs described as ‘a gifted storyteller’. We’ve come to believe that storytelling is an art reserved for the chosen few—that great storytellers are born, not made. How can that possibly be true?

What all great storytellers have in common is more than a talent for storytelling. They aren’t ‘naturals’ or ‘born storytellers’. What they are is ‘practised storytellers.’

Last weekend I was at an event where the legendary author Margaret Atwood spoke. When someone asked if she read fiction and why, she told the audience she reads to understand. ‘I want to know how they did that,’ she said. One of the best storytellers of our generation, a woman who has twice won the Booker Prize, whose books sell in their millions, reads other people’s stories to learn from them and make her stories better.

Storytelling is an act, something you practice—a skill you can learn and get better at.

*The Story Skills Workshop is back by popular demand. We open for registration on March 3rd. You can register for more information by visiting here.

Image by David Geller

On Strengths

If a friend or colleague asked you to list their strengths, I’m guessing you’d have no trouble coming up several of their attributes.

But if they asked you to share a list of your strengths you’d likely hesitate.

Why is that?

We don’t spend a lot of time reflecting on our skills and talents, because we’ve been conditioned to be humble.

We largely focus on our ‘areas for improvement—the things we lack confidence and competence in, to the detriment of our gifts and our genius.

Of course, we can improve our weakness. But we can also amplify our strengths.

What do you already bring to the world and how can you do more of that?

Image by Annie Spratt

Say It Like You Mean It


Empathy is an essential skill for anyone who wants to make a living by serving others.
A big part of our job is to show those people that we see, hear and can help them.

But there’s a fine line between fake intimacy and genuine sincerity in a sales conversation. We’ve all been subjected to both.

The good news is we each get to choose which posture to adopt.

You can say it like you mean it, or better—you can mean it before you say it.

The integrity of sincerity wins in the long run.

Image by Adam Jang

The Best Stories Are Lived

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m visiting the smallest branch of my favourite chocolate shop. It’s a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated business, and it shows.
The enthusiasm of the assistants is palpable.

‘I’ve never worked for a company like this,’ the woman behind the counter says. ‘I’ve been here for five years, and I love it!’

When I ask why she talks about how much the owners care.

‘They’d do anything for us. They even get up on a ladder to change our lightbulbs. They remember our birthdays. They want the best for our customers and us.’

As the conversation progresses, ‘they’ becomes ‘we’.

‘We don’t export. We’re just proud to sell a beautiful Australian product at home.’

Storytelling is more than clever copy. It’s the act of showing up, with intention.
Your story is more than a tagline or a positioning statement—it’s not only what you say—it’s what you do.

The best stories are not just told, they are lived.

Image by Avant

Why Should They Care?


The ‘For Lease’ sign attached to the first-floor window of the shopfront is one of half a dozen along Gertrude Street. And the sales copy on each of them does nothing to differentiate one premises from the other.

The signs give us dimensions, details about the facilities and ‘good natural light’. They don’t for a second help a prospective tenant to translate those features into the benefits they care about.

It’s not enough to tell people what they get as part of the transaction today. We need to show them how those features will become benefits that matter to them in the long run.

Image by Garry Knight

Mass Awareness Vs. Minority Affinity


The ‘golden arches’ glow at me in the distance as I set out for the gym before sunrise. It’s impossible to miss the 24-hour McDonald’s at the junction no matter which direction you travel. The ‘golden arches’ don’t distinguish the right potential customer from the wrong one. And that’s the point. McDonald’s strategy is to target everyone, so they cast their net far and wide, creating mass awareness. Their ideal customer can be any peckish stranger who happens to be passing by. This strategy works for McDonald’s, but it’s unlikely to work for us.

No other restaurant or cafe along this same street has the luxury of the ‘golden arches’. Like most of us with something to say, serve or sell, they have to do a better job of speaking to only their right customers. They don’t depend on the footfall of mass awareness—they thrive on the loyalty of minority affinity, built one customer at a time, over time. They understand what their customers want, they make promises, then show up consistently, week in week out, without fail to keep them.

There is no one-size-fits-all marketing strategy. The tactics we use must align with our goals and the goals of the people we want to serve. How are you creating affinity with the minority of people who enable you to do your best work?

Image by Joiarib Morales