Planes, trains… and a Virgin or two

by Lee Hopkins on May 21, 2007 · 9 comments

in Uncategorized

Virgin Voyeur cake

One of the bonuses of the millionaire jetset lifestyle that we business communicators enjoy (ahem) is the pleasure of perusing airline magazines.

Virginblue, the Aussie arm of Branson’s airline empire, has a very typical magazine called – get this – ‘virginblue voyeur’.

Must have taken them hours to think it up.

But buried in this particular edition of the glossy dross that makes up every airline mag was a book review of Lori Silverman’s Wake Me Up When the Data Is Over.

Silverman apparently owns a consultancy that espouses the benefits of using storytelling in the workplace as a way of engendering ‘trust’ and that all-powerful ‘connection’ (dare I say ‘engagement‘?) betwixt employers and employees.

Says the review’s author, Shane Conroy:

Storytelling is a tool for building the myths and archetypes that brands express. Communicating your brand’s story can improve customer relevance and address competitive differentiation. What’s more, a strong brand story can help to shape organisational culture.

To which I fully concur – we are ‘story’ machines: we love to create them, we love to hear them, we love to read them. The ‘story’ is how we process information and remember it later.

Glad to see ‘storytelling’ is being touted as a viable branding and culture-assisting tool. Silverman apparently interviewed around 170 public and private sector leaders, resulting in a collection of stories and experiences rich in colour and tested in the laboratory of real life.

Has anyone bought the book, or read it? What are your views of it? Amazon reviewers seem to like it…

Says Gabrielle Dolan, the Director of One Thousand and One here in Australia:

“I found this book to be extremely useful in exploring the various applications of storytelling. As a practitioner in the field of organisational storytelling, I am always exploring various applications of the use of story. Lori’s research into how organisations have used it has really helped me in my thinking around the applications of this powerful business tool and helped me bring this learning to our Australian clients.”

Is it just me being old and crotchety, or does the phrase “bring this learning” feel like fingernails on a blackboard?


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  • http://adagejobs.blogspot.com/ Catriona

    I too love the notion of storytelling. But let’s remember it’s an age old tradition; used by tribal elders from all cultures. Please don’t let it become a fad or a strategy. Once a story is forced it loses all colour and most of its power.

    When I work with engineers on knowledge continuity, I often allude to the power of storytelling. They are mostly unconvinced. But they like ‘post project reviews’, ‘case studies’ and ‘bear traps’.

    And then there’s the adage – a story in very few words. It our time poor society, a good adage can hit home – and you don’t even need a powerpoint presentation.

    Your adage for the day:
    What is told in the ear of a man is often heard 100 miles away.

  • http://adagejobs.blogspot.com/ Catriona

    I too love the notion of storytelling. But let’s remember it’s an age old tradition; used by tribal elders from all cultures. Please don’t let it become a fad or a strategy. Once a story is forced it loses all colour and most of its power.

    When I work with engineers on knowledge continuity, I often allude to the power of storytelling. They are mostly unconvinced. But they like ‘post project reviews’, ‘case studies’ and ‘bear traps’.

    And then there’s the adage – a story in very few words. It our time poor society, a good adage can hit home – and you don’t even need a powerpoint presentation.

    Your adage for the day:
    What is told in the ear of a man is often heard 100 miles away.

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    Great comment, Cat!

    I love your adage of the day — can I repurpose that as a post on it’s own?

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    Great comment, Cat!

    I love your adage of the day — can I repurpose that as a post on it’s own?

  • http://www.onethousandandone.com.au/ Gabrielle Dolan

    Hi Lee,

    I am sorry to hear my phrase ‘bring this learning’ had such an adverse affect on you, I too hate fingernails down a blackboard, especially my own.

    It does highlight the reach of the online world though doesn’t it. I make a comment on Amazon on a book that I found really useful, someone does a review on the book and then someone blogs on my comments…amazing.

    And I agree with a lot of the comments Catriona has made. Storytelling is an age old tradition but organisational storytelling is quite different. Storytelling is so powerful but often not used at all, or not used very well in the corporate world. I hope we are doing our little bit to coach business leaders on how they can use story instead of boring powerpoint presentations filled with only facts and figures to communicate with people.

    We have all sat through too many of those.

    Keep up the good work on educating on the importance of communication.

    Gabrielle

  • http://www.onethousandandone.com.au Gabrielle Dolan

    Hi Lee,

    I am sorry to hear my phrase ‘bring this learning’ had such an adverse affect on you, I too hate fingernails down a blackboard, especially my own.

    It does highlight the reach of the online world though doesn’t it. I make a comment on Amazon on a book that I found really useful, someone does a review on the book and then someone blogs on my comments…amazing.

    And I agree with a lot of the comments Catriona has made. Storytelling is an age old tradition but organisational storytelling is quite different. Storytelling is so powerful but often not used at all, or not used very well in the corporate world. I hope we are doing our little bit to coach business leaders on how they can use story instead of boring powerpoint presentations filled with only facts and figures to communicate with people.

    We have all sat through too many of those.

    Keep up the good work on educating on the importance of communication.

    Gabrielle

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    Gabrielle – what a true delight to find you commenting here! As you say, it IS remarkable how a simple comment on Amazon can find its way around the blogosphere.

    I agree with you — we have been subjected far too many times to ‘death by powerpoint’. I have always found the ideas of Garr Reynolds, Seth Godin and Cliff Atkinson invaluable in preparing presentations, along with a large sheet or two of A3. I might turn this stream of comments into another post and add the links so that more of our community can take advantage of them.

    Thanks again for weighing in to the conversation — and in a way that doesn’t have fingernails running down blackboards {smile}

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    Gabrielle – what a true delight to find you commenting here! As you say, it IS remarkable how a simple comment on Amazon can find its way around the blogosphere.

    I agree with you — we have been subjected far too many times to ‘death by powerpoint’. I have always found the ideas of Garr Reynolds, Seth Godin and Cliff Atkinson invaluable in preparing presentations, along with a large sheet or two of A3. I might turn this stream of comments into another post and add the links so that more of our community can take advantage of them.

    Thanks again for weighing in to the conversation — and in a way that doesn’t have fingernails running down blackboards {smile}

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