Beyond the Facts & Stats


 

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The dissemination of intellectual or knowledge-based information is often achieved through educational lectures and professional seminars.  Word-impacted power-point presentations fill overhead screens accompanied by handouts with accompanying empty black lines flanking images of screen shots. Thus offering audience members an additional way to record another’s idea of what they think is truly important. Opinion poles, bar graphs, and test results are frequent flyers in the realm of evidence-based documentation or presentations. This type of official data also provides audience members with justifiable proof and unquestionable credibility about what they have to say and why they should be paid.

These authoritatively utilized, zealously prescribed and frequently clung to methods of information dumping are heralded by acclaimed experts. Yep, duty-bound experts in any given field come fully armed and loaded with their ability to blast us with yet another round of impressively, important material. Information we’re privileged enough to listen to and even more privileged to pay for.

OK, I get it. Informational programs and seminars can be helpful and informative. Learning new information and being exposed to fresh ideas can also be illuminating, practical and even inspirational. Still, they can also be easily forgotten, yawn-provokingly dull, and stoically lifeless. But what about story? A word, a concept and an art form often lost in an impressively, impersonal jungle of justifiably, unwavering facts and stats.

Now back to story, with its emotionally engaging and creatively inspiring conquests of intrigue, suspense, and adventure. Stories are juicy, zany, troublesome, romantic, cataclysmic, informational, cautionary and heartwarming. They captivate our attention and tug at our heartstrings. Stories remind us of who we are and inspire us to be more than we thought we could be. They remind us of what is important and how our lives impact others. They challenge us. They inspire us. They incite action. They are intrical to who we are and to the foundation of our lives.

For now, let’s power down our powerpoints and put down our writing utensils. Let’s nestle in, leaving behind the concerns of the day. Let’s forget the past and focus on the present. Through the power of story, let’s discover more of who we are and the resources we have to meet the challenges which lie ahead. Let’s find out who or what changed over the course of story’s journey. Let’s experience the intrigue of what happened, how it happened and how it all came to be. Let’s move into action and gain inspiration from the protagonist or others who have gone before us. Let’s celebrate the victory of story’s success.

Great, so where do we go from here?

What is a problem or challenge does your audience needs to solve?

Who is the main character? (a worker, manager, client, patron …)

What obstacles have to be overcome? Pick a few of the key ones. It’s ok, even preferable if the protagonist doesn’t meet all of them. This is just life and part of what makes a story great!

What happens at the end?

How do they get there?

Who or what has changed?

What’s the most important point of your story?

Once you’ve formulated your story, tell it to a few supportive listeners or a storytelling coach. The job of supportive listeners is to listen; not to critique. Although, you might ask them what they liked about it or if they had any questions.

Facts, stats, and figures have their place. Yet stories engage us. They are easily remembered. They compel us to tell them again and again. For a story well-told is always the beginning; never the end.

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s journey continue!

 

 

 

 

 

Gas Guzzlers Ignite Stories


legs-434918_1280This year’s, annual Auto-Mechanical Gas Guzzler’s Explo, features the latest in green automotive design and short-circuits in legislated, auto-emission standards. Participants from around the globe come to expand their knowledge base, spark their curiosity or succumb to their boss’s ultimatums. The percussion marketing of highly polished, gas guzzling cars, fuel the images of our mind’s internal dialogue:

“Too expensive.”
“Divorce court vs. motorized euphoria; weighing the options.”
“I know I can do it! At sixty plus hours of overtime each week, within 10 years, it will be mine!”
“Ignition key to dating ease. . . “

A car is a car. This is until the images story make this four-wheeled, prefabricated creation more than a standard, off-the-assembly line motorized vehicle. Emotion, meaning, change and drama transform this image into a story. Now rolling off the pre-assembled memory-lined banks of our mind’s eye, this car becomes an animated piece, part or aspect of our daily lives. For some it may become a career path while for others a fatality. No matter what its course, our car’s talk makes our story’s run; thus turning our prefabricated, motorized transportation into more than just a car.

One example of an image’s story-ification process is the ever dreaded, ill-fated, driver’s education road test. The very one which currently separates us from the constricted confines of parent approved, chauffeur services from the world of driver-independent, motorized freedom. The big day arrives. Masterfully fastening our seat belts and turning the key, reality hits. The reality of having locked ourselves inside a small metallic,
four-wheeled, accelerating, motorized structure with a complete stranger. One who has been exclusively state appointed and solely invested with the power to welcome us into the sacred realm of independent drivers; or to condemn us into retaking the dreaded, ill-fated road test yet again. At this point, the simple image of a car becomes the vividly vibrant foundation of this story’s unfolding.

Research and informational presentations deal primarily with facts. Story and story-based communication encompasses images, emotion and change. The place where life is as it is, change happens and life as it was, will never again be the same.

So . . . what is the story behind your first car?

What was your first car like?

Was it your dream car, filled with the tantalizing aroma of new car smell? The very one now adding a much needed jump start to your social life and a unexpected, fueled-spark of ignition to your love life.

. . . OR . . .

Was it a state of the arts jalopy, beater or rattletrap? The one where rubberized floor-mats strategically covered the rust-eaten-holes in your car’s floorboards; separating you from road spray’s loose debris and soggy splash backs.

What ever image you choose, fill it with emotion, suspense and intrigue. Then pile in and enjoy the ride into your next story’s adventurous unfolding.

Expect taken from Break Out Storytelling: A Leap off the Page Guide to Telling a Story by Grace Wolbrink.

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

Lawfully Lawless – Creatively Inspiring


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Through the power of story, political figureheads, tax regulators, law enforcers, socially perceived hierarchy, culturally-defined norms, bosses, supervisors, parental units and rigamortis impact the course of ones’ life experiences. Story artists throughout the centuries have creatively conspired to orchestrate, direct, lead, dominate, choreograph and otherwise differentiate between the lawfully lawful and the law abiding lawlessness of story. Through the power of story cannibalism moves beyond its perceived cultural preferences, war-lording chiefs and individual menu planners. Questing, never thought they would make it, heroes’ embark on tantalizing bean-stalking, mirror-talking, troll-defying and glass-shoeing adventures. Acrobats death defying feats; athletes epic-sagas; noodle-heads’ rampaging insolence and individuals’ hilarious, gut-hugging escapades frequently challenge previously perceived, story-inspired, social norms and morays.

Scientific discoveries and inventors’ inventions become real through the image of story’s powerful impact. Story; a place where the world becomes round and the planet’s sun takes center stage. A place where jet propelled engines take flight and motorized vehicles storm roadways. A place where towered-connected cellular devises interface human connections. Story; the place where we go beyond the boundaries of what we thought we could do or what we thought was possible.

Stepping into your story’s story-line, experience and embrace the lawfully lawlessness and compelling intrigue of story’s creative inspirations. Step beyond the perceived boundaries of someone else’s words or where you think this story should go. Lawfully respect your audience’s values while lawlessly unleashing the uniqueness of your ideas, your inspiring voice and your breathlessly-intriguing, story-inspirations. Inspire, experience and enrich story’s powerfully, magnetic journey.

Take a quick review:

What first sparked your interest in this story?
What is the most important part or aspect of this story to you?
What do you love most about this story?
What else is possible?

Now reconnect with the images of your story’s story.

Would the story spark more or further dynamically impact audience members if it started at the end or ended in at the beginning?

What might happen if the story was told from another character’s voice or perspective?

Is the main character as strong, sassy, silly, introspective or insane as they appear or don’t appear to be?

Did it really happen this way . . . or maybe, just maybe . . . it happened; yet another way.

So dive, drive, fly, squeak, spurt, float, bob or belly-flop into your next story’s adventure. Remember, it’s your story to tell, in only the way you can. Enjoy, experience and soar into the journey of your story’s images. Boldly break into the lawfully lawlessness of story and the unprecedented uniqueness of your creative inspiration.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin!

Opportunity


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Opportunity brings with it the alluring scent of expansion into untapped adventures and uncharted territories. Opportunity rings a curious call summing only those who are willing to listen. Story too brings opportunity. Opportunity for the teller. Opportunity for it’s characters. Opportunity for its listeners. Opportunity for each one to go beyond the bounds of who they thought they were or what they thought they might possibly be, do or say.

Storytellers craft stories. Storytellers meeting a new story face choices, challenges and opportunities in bringing fresh breath and new life to its adventurous journey. A tale now filled with emotion, opportunity, terror, travasity, humor and romance. Each mixed with the teller’s unique and captivating allure of story’s unexpected twists, turns and fated or ill-fated outcomes. A story which challenges, engages and allows audience members to experience its journey. Storytellers embrace, delight, revel and marinate in the deliciously tantalizing reality of story’s infinite journey.  Ham it, can it, ban it, expand it or rubber band it. Whatever you do, take the opportunity to add a touch of you in making this story uniquely yours.

Characters live life. Lives which represent us. Reflect our own life’s journey and the people along its way. Stereotypical character types become a universal language of images, events and familiarity. We all know them. We all love them. Other characters, not quite so stereotypical, add a sense of mystery, suspense and wonderment. Delving into your character’s innocent, mischievous or quirky  personality traits and adventurous journeys invite us, tellers and listeners alike, into the realm of opportunity, possibility and  eye-awaking intrigue. Invite story’s characters into your inner circle. Dress them, pack them and encourage them before sending them off on the opportunity of their lifetime.

Listeners engage and interact. Receiving the opportunity of story’s invitation listeners enter into and emerge from a world, a reality as vivid as their day’s adventures. A completely unforgettable, non-duplicatable, and utterly unique experience in the course of their lives. One which may be challenge, ignite, expand or propel their awareness, beliefs, feelings, emotions, ideas, choices or even unexplored opportunities for change.

Opportunities give all of us infinite possibilities.
Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Begin.

 

 

 

Minotaur’s a-Maz-ing Labyrinth Part 11


 

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For Athens and Crete dwellers alike, love and politics leave deceitful trails of revenge. Since our last visit to Crete, Minotaur is now adjusted to his father’s under the palace, housing accommodations as well as his annual supply of fresh, young Athenian blood.  This naturally places Minotaur at the bottom of the King’s to-do list. However, this is not the case for the erupting monarchy and outraged citizens of Athens.

Unfortunately for the folks in Athens, King Minos’s only fully human son, Androgeus (as opposed to his step-son Minotaur) entered the Panathenian games. Due to a freakish act of nature, or in this case, a humankind’s product of nature, he returned home in a coffin. Outraged, King Minos of Crete sentenced seven of Athens most beautiful maidens and young men to serve as an additional food source to his other, half bull, half man son, Minotaur. An extremely tasteless act as deemed by the Athenians.

Since the local oracle offered no assistance Theseus, son of King Aegeus and ruler of Athens, offers a hand. Setting up a private consultation with dad, Theseus assures pop he has the Minotaur situation well under control. So confident of his victorious return, he vows to replace the black funeral sails of their departure with the white sails of victory upon their return. Pop agrees. Theseus and the other thirteen sacrificial youth, soon to become dinner mates, set sail. Theseus, not knowing what to do or what might be done, figures he will wing it when he gets there.

Upon his fated or ill-fated arrival, Ariadne, King Minos’s daughter, proclaims love at first sight. Capitalizing on his good fortune, Theseus asks for her assistance. His plan becomes clear. Equipped a ball of yarn, and Ariadne’s explicit instructions, he ties one end to the opening of the labyrinth. Leading the way with the ball of yarn in hand, he and his other thirteen dinner mates enter the non-postal residence of Minotaur. Trailing the yarn behind him, his search ends in the untimely death of Minotaur. With the ball of yarn still in hand, retracing his steps, he and his former dinner mates emerge victorious.

While the tragedy of this story and its a-mazing and unwary characters continues, for now we end with the elopement of Theseus and Ariadne.

Minotaur’s a-Mazing-Labyrinth Part l

Until next time . . . Let your Storyographer’s journey begin!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bombshell – Haircut or Hairicy?


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Haircut or Hairicy!

Have you ever walked into and out of a beauty shop or barber shop and felt like someone unleashed a bombshell on top of your head? It wasn’t exactly what you were expecting. It isn’t exactly what you wanted. Yet, somehow, it happened. How it happened, you’re still not quite sure. As to where it came from, you think might have had something to do with this seemingly, charming person you first met behind the counter. The same one who just handed you the bill. Actually the same one who actually expects you to pay for the services rendered on this now explosive mass of folic-ally challenged residue called hair. The very appendages, which less than an hour ago gleefully hung in neat rows adorning your head. Looking in the mirror you now find yourself wearing the fragmented shrapnel of some unidentifiable, desecrated, hair-raising remains of what? No one really knows. Downcast you saunter out the door. Your head’s few remaining hairs desperately clinging to your scalp.

What makes things worse . . . if this could even be possible, is that this very person  actually, not only attended, but graduated from an accredited institution of higher learning. A place where they were educated, discharged and licensed to utilize their board certified skills and their near-lethal, non-registered tools of mass hair destruction on your head. The one you wish was no longer attached to your neck or in any way identifiable or traceable to your specific body. Bombshell – Haircut or Hairicy.

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!

Problem Drama – Story’s Sizzle


 

ship-1366926_640Drama Queens and Trauma Junkies UNITE! Problem drama’s struggles, scandals, catastrophes and gossip continue to engage, enthrall, and entice audiences of all ages. With the captivating scent and the juicy allure of socially deviant problems, socially propelled drama, high paced gossip and devilish deeds, a story’s story line comes alive. All capturing audience’s’ attention under the common theme or the questioning intrigue of: “What’s happening? . . . OR . . . Now what? . . . OR EVEN . . . Can you believe this! . . . Let me at them! I’ll teach em a lesson!”

The saga of our day-to-day lives would not be complete without generous portions of problem drama. This type of drama often taking the form of earth shattering news, murderous rampages, plummeting profit margins, raising inflation, workplace cover-ups, extra-curricular marital affairs, gastrointestinal turmoil, and the horrifying reality of daily gossip. Drama queens of all ages, sexes sizes and trans-cultural variety packs unit in the telling and retelling of their daily adventures. The persistently constant, vivid reality of problem drama, marks the events of our lives. Also, the lives of those around us as well as the lives of the characters within our stories. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, without the conflicting struggle of problem drama our world would be in serious danger of a complete communication blackout.

From here let’s revisit the reality of struggle in the story development process. Take a few minutes to catch the buzz on the latest workplace rumors, up to the minute social media epic sagas or the routine chatter and clatter of community gatherings. For it is here that we all find the familiar, yet creatively told and retold accredited validation of daily living’s problem induced sagas. Even in the story of Snow White, the evil Queen makes reference to her educational achievements in the field of black magic while she cleverly turns an apple into a lethal weapon on her continuing quest to permanently kill off the King’s only known offspring. The three little pigs are well noted for their architectural accomplishments the housing industry as well as their structural pitfalls when presented with the bellowing blows of a ravenously hungry, huffing and puffing wolf. Robin Hood’s witty charm, coupled with his legendary bow shooting and money hoisting skills gave hope to local peasants living under the oppressive reign of greedy King John; as their lives and conversations reflected the hardships of the Kingdom’s Revenue Collection Services, debtors’ prison and general economic decline.

So grab your story, a few key characters and step into the life reflecting realm of problem drama. Snatch up some of its alluring reality to soup up your stories, their characters and their turbulent journeys and scandalous life-styles.

 

Until next time . . . Let Your Storyographer’s Journey Continue!