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A 6-Minute Guide to Storytelling with Data: The “How We Got Here” Method

Can you tell stories with data like you can with words? Absolutely! In the video above, I'll show you one of my two favorite methods for doing that. Have a look, and then try it out yourself. If you'd rather read, see

Unto the Least of My Brothers: The Unforgettable Stranger I Met in a California Hot Tub

It wasn't the experience I expected twenty minutes earlier when I stepped into the hotel hot tub. I stopped to pause on each step for a few seconds to get used to the heat. I looked up at an almost full moon and a


Lead With A Story

Don’t tell me to “think outside the box.” Give me a bigger box! Here’s how. . .

Perhaps you've seen this puzzle. There are nine dots on a page, arranged in a 3-by-3 matrix. The challenge is to connect all nine dots with four straight lines (or fewer) without lifting your pencil or retracing your path. If you haven't done it before, or it's been a while, give it a try. Okay, give up? Watch the video above for: the solution, a great "outside the box" story, and to learn a better way to come up with more creative solutions to tough problems than just telling [read more]

3 Steps to Giving a Presentation You Don’t Believe In

Here's a situation that happens far more often than we’d like to admit. What do you do when you’re told to give a presentation that you just don’t believe in? It usually happens to a midlevel manager who’s told they have to deploy the latest corporate mandate. Now they're stuck in between the executives issuing the mandate and the rank and file who have to execute it. Whether you’re the one being asked to give the presentation, or the executive pushing down the mandate, you’ve got a problem [read more]

Parenting with a Story

Here’s What Happens When You Wait Too Long to Say, “I’m Sorry”

When Darrell was in the third grade he did something he’s regretted for the thirty-five years since. What was his unforgettable and unpardonable sin? He wrote a poem. A very bad poem. Darrell's class had been learning the rhyme and meter of several forms of poetry. One particular week they learned about limericks. That's a five-line poem, written in what poet's call anapestic meter, and with an unmistakable rhyming pattern. You recognize one immediately when you hear it. To demonstrate they [read more]

The Only Way to Listen Better by Talking More

Listening is one of the most important communication tools we have. In fact, it's one of the only two requirements for actually having a conversation -- the other being it's far more popular teammate: talking. But even when we do listen, most of us listen with the intent of responding, not with the intent of understanding. In other words, we’re thinking about the next thing we’re going to say. That’s not listening. Sometimes really listening means more than being quiet while other people talk. [read more]

Sell With A Story

Your Product’s Invention or Discovery Story

{The 12th in a series of the 25 most useful sales stories.} This story marks our transition from the rapport building phase of the sales process to the actual sales pitch itself. And for most salespeople, this is the heart of the matter—this where most of the traditional selling is done, and where most of the time in a typical sales call is spent. So there’s room for lots of stories, and successful salespeople often use more than one. In fact, I found five different types of stories being told [read more]

Your “How We’re Different From Our Competitors” Story

Professional buyers will tell you (like they told me) that competitors in just about every space are so similar that it’s hard to tell them apart. They need a differentiation story—which means you need a differentiation story. One of my favorite examples of that comes from Sharad Madison, CEO of United Building Maintenance. UBM is a commercial cleaning company -- so they clean office buildings at night. And guess what, there are a lot of companies that do that. So, in order to [read more]