Story Labs

Each month SIO members gather together on a video Story Lab call. These 45-55 minute conferences include at least one story that has application to organizational uses, and discussion about the story. A wide variety of guests share their insights into their organizational storytelling work.  In the past year, many of these Story Labs have been recorded through Zoom video. If we’ve had the presenters’ permission and fully functional equipment, links to those videos are included in the Story Lab descriptions!

August 2020 – Jay Golden

The Mythic Moment Our August Story Lab guest was Jay Golden, Keynote Speaker, Storytelling Coach & Founder of Retellable “For a story to change the world, it has to change you first.” Jay Golden Time speeds along, perhaps faster than ever before. And yet, there are moments, living moments thatseem to reach across time, coming …

August 2020 – Jay Golden Details »

July 2020 – Kendall Haven 
Your Brain on Story: Using the Science of Story to Better Persuade, Inspire, Influence, and Teach

Our guest speaker was Kendall Haven, author of Story Proof and Story Smart.

“It’s not what you say that matters. What matters is what they hear.”

Haven’s research in the science of story reveals how your audience’s (or your client’s) brains perform two critical aspects of that “hearing” part:

  1. How does the human brain make sense of incoming information?
  2. How does the brain then create meaning for that information?

Turns out, the elements of effective story structure control both processes.

Haven demonstrated the neural story net and the make-sense mandate in action and showed us both the dangerous pitfalls they represent and ways to direct your clients in skirting around them.

He focused on practical tools we can use to guide our clients (and your own) communications to take full advantage of the results of neural story science (and avoid most common corporate communications blunders).

Kendall Haven, a 35-year performing storyteller, has, for three decades, led the research effort for the National Storytelling Assn. and International Storytelling Center into effective story structure and into the process of story-based influence and persuasion.

An internationally recognized Subject Matter Expert on the science of story, Haven helped create the study of the Neuroscience of Story and created the first detailed, tested model of dynamic story architecture that accounts for the neurology of how narrative material is processed, understood, remembered, and recalled in a receiver’s mind. His two seminal works (Story Proof and Story Smart) have revolutionized our understanding of the right relationship between human brain and story

Here is the link to this fascinating Story Lab!

June 2020 – Park Howell 
How to Captivate Your Audience with a Bewitching Brand Story? (A link to this session will be available shortly)

Our guest speaker was Park Howell, known as the world’s most industrious storyteller and the author of Brand Bewitchery: How to Wield the Story Cycle System to Craft Spellbinding Stories for Your Brand.

Most business leaders communicate and care but they don’t connect with their customers because they are boring.  Therefore, in this webinar, we learned a proven narrative framework that is irresistible to audiences.  This problem/solution structure not only helps define our brand but enables us to hack through the noise and hook the hearts of our customers to grow our business.  The goal of this webinar was to help us excel through the stories we tell.

  Park Howell, a 35-year expert in branding and advertising, is know as The World’s Most Industrious Storyteller and has recently published his new book, Brand Bewitchery: How to Wield the Story Cycle System to Craft Spellbinding Stories for Your Brand.  Park hosts the popular Business of Story podcast which is ranked among the top 10 percent of downloaded podcasts in the world.  He consults, teaches, coaches, and speaks internationally, helping leaders of purpose-driven brands clarify their stories to amplify their impact and simplify their lives.

Here is the link to this fascinating Story Lab!

National Storytelling Network SIO Pre-Conference session on May 30, 2020, featured SIO Board Member Artem Mushin-Makedonskiy! 

May 2020 – Shane Meeker 
For folks who missed Shane Meeker’s Story Lab on May 27, you missed a great one! This Story Lab was not recorded at Shane’s request.

Guest speaker was Shane Meeker, corporate storyteller for the Proctor and Gamble Company and the author of Story Mythos: A Movie Guide to Better Business Stories.

From Pete’s notes:
“Culture is what stories employees tell when management isn’t in the room.”
“Frame your argument in your audience’s language, not yours!”
“Focus groups are OK but this is not where your product is tested.”
“Try out new stories.  Not all of them will work.  Use the ones that do.  But don’t forget the ones that didn’t!”

There were specific ads Shane mentioned, in particular a memorable ad from recent Super Bowls (link below). He asked us to count how many cultural references we noted.  There were cars pulling into a business (Batmobile, Ghosbuster’s wagon, etc).  The ad wasn’t aimed at this generation that understands e-commerce, it was aimed at an older generation.

Plot: what happens (in commercial, the product features)
Story: what people feel and do because of “what happens”
Theme: truth about life that emerges from what happens

“Always remember that everyone in your audience has a remote.”
Stories add value to your objects for sale.

“If you don’t sacrifice for what you want, what you want becomes the sacrifice.” Harry Potter theme

Shane Meeker

April 2020 – David Levy 
“Ten Years in the Storytelling Game – In Front of and Behind the Scenes  You cannot produce, curate, and direct storytelling events for ten years and not learn a little something along the way.  In this session, David Levy shared key storytelling insights that can help leaders in any organization.  In this compelling session, David shared what he’s learned (and sometimes how he learned it) since co-founding True Theatre, a storytelling event in Cincinnati.  David is also an active and award-winning Toastmasters member and a behind-the-scenes employee for a major grocery chain.  Storytelling has changed his life.  He offers his insights to all those who want to implement a storytelling program, teach storytelling, share stories, or simply learn from listening to others.

David Levy co-founded True Theatre (“true stories told by real people” – truetheatre.org) in 2010 with the mission to build “Community” through the sharing of personal stories.  Since then, David has produced nearly 50 storytelling events, featuring over 200 storytellers sharing nearly 250 stories (including three of his own).  David continues to serve as the company’s Artistic Director and sits on the board of this 501(c)(3) non-profit.  He credits his parents for instilling a love of “story” in him, when he was a kid, by endlessly playing Harry Chapin’s “Greatest Stories Live” on the family car’s 8-track player.

 

David Levy – True Theatre

March 2020 – Dr. Karen Dietz

“Transforming a Crisis: Practical Business Storytelling!”
If there ever was a time for powerful storytelling, this is it. The Coronavirus is reshaping personal and business life. Yet many companies are still putting out bulletins of information full of corporate speak. In reality, people need stories to build hope, reassurance, and trust. Bulletins just don’t do it. Humanized communication and stories do. So, let’s get busy. In this SIO SIG meeting Dr. Karen Dietz shared with us:

  1. Why stories are so critical for the crisis we face today and the neuroscience behind it;
  2. A model for storytelling in a crisis that includes which stories to share in the cycle of change;
  3. The methodologies for storytelling in a crisis that focuses on story listening, story collecting, and story sharing; and
  4. The results to expect.

Watch this recorded Zoom session for these practical tips and a discussion to follow about what you can be doing in your organization/business.

Dr. Karen Dietz is a veteran in transformational business storytelling. She is the author of Business Storytelling for Dummies, a TEDx speaker and TEDx coach. Karen is featured in 8 books on business storytelling. She trains, coaches, and consults on business storytelling. Clients include Disney, Princess Cruises, Viasat, rising stars, and nonprofits. Visit Karen’s website here.

Dr, Karen Dietz

February 2020 – Anjali Sharma
“Make the Change Happen with Stories  The conventional management approach to announcing change in a business is to give people reasons and knowledge on why the change is needed. Sadly, this faith in reasons and knowledge isn’t borne out in practice. Asking people to stop doing the things that they know and start doing things that they don’t know much about, creates doubts, confusion and skepticism. Anything but enthusiastic implementation.  Fortunately, there is a solution at hand in a particular form of a Change Story that is not created but curated with conversations with people on the ground, which provides not just the reason, but motivation for enthusiastic implementation.  Curation of a compelling change story is the first step of a good Change Management Plan.

Anjali is a leading business storytelling consultant in Asia Pacific.  She helps business leaders, sales professionals, and TEDx speakers find and tell stories.  She has worked in corporate roles for over 15 years in Australia, Singapore and India.

View the Zoom video of this Story Lab here!    (Editor’s Note: midway through the video we experienced a recording problem. We ended up with two segments that we later melded into one but were unable to eliminate the “jarring” transition. Our apologies.)

December 2019 – Sixth Annual Story Swap!
SIO Member Story Swap Themes: International Understanding & Opportunities for Empathy.

Caption: Alaska Naturalist Pete teams up with English-Japanese translator Keiko near Alaska’s Harvard Glacier.  They worked together to pass along interesting facts about glaciers, sea otters, and whales to Japanese passengers aboard the Sun Princess on its 2019 world cruise.

This story lab featured members of the SIO and their stories of international understanding and opportunities for empathy.  Thirteen people attended the swap.  We invited NSN’s two most recent J.J. Reneaux Award recipients, April Armstrong and Sufian Zhemukhov, both of whom shared a personal story with the group.  Three others (Julienne, Tom, and Artem) shared poignant stories as well.  (Editors note: the video link is currently private but please return when we get this corrected!)     View the Zoom video for this Story Swap here!

November 2019 – Geoff Meade, PhD
“Heart and Soul: The Art of Narrative Leadership “I’m looking forward to sharing with you the three pillars of Narrative Leadership and some of the ways I and my colleagues at Narrative Leadership Associates apply them in practice with our clients. I also want to offer for discussion some current pre-occupations and dilemmas that I believe face all of us storytellers working in and with organizations in our troubled times. How can we do our work well and with a good conscience?” Dr. Geoff Meade View the Zoom video of this Story Lab here!

October 2019 – Tom Sparough
Spine-tingling Wisdom. This story lab features Tom Sparough, author of Mr. Baitenswitch, Ghost Stories to Keep You and Your Organization Alive!  In the spookiest month of the year, board member Tom Sparough will take over the wheel to drive the lab into the land of organizational ghost stories!  View the Zoom video of this Story Lab here!

August 2019 – Gabrielle Dolan
The Power of Thought Leadership and Storytelling. This story lab features Gabrielle Dolan author Real Communication: How to Be You and Lead True!  In a world of distrust and information overload, “Thought Leadership and Storytelling” are two powerful ways to not only reach your audience but communicate in a more effective way. In this webinar, you will learn what Thought Leadership is, what it isn’t, and why you would invest in it. You will also learn why storytelling is a powerful communication and influence tool plus the four types of stories you need in business. We had some difficulty with our Zoom recording but a Youtube recording of Gabrielle Dolan’s presentation is available here.

July 2019 – Dr. Chené Swart
Re-authoring: How Individuals, Communities, and Organizations Can Take Back the Pen. This story lab features Dr. Chené Swart of South Africa!  Re-authoring work facilitates ways of seeing and doing that invites individuals, communities, and organizations to take back the pen in the authoring of their lives and their worlds.  Re-authoring sees organizations as the keepers of the stories. The method requires leaders to ask careful curious questions and jointly craft processes that will take the organization forward into preferred ways of doing and knowing.  We explored these ideas and practices with an example from Flanders called Everyone Deserves a Holiday. A Youtube video recording of Dr. Swart’s presentation is available here.

May 2019 – Atem Mushin-Makedonskiy
Tales of Organizational Storytelling in 3 Case Studies. This story lab features Atem Mushin-Makedonskiy, NSN’s first member in Russia! Storytelling is a hot topic in Australia,  the USA, and many countries in Europe. Russia, despite its great literature and overall story culture (remember Dostoevsky and Tolstoy?) is just beginning to recognize and embrace the power or organizational storytelling. Artem shares his experience of applying his multi-cultural knowledge of storytelling to his experiences in Russian corporate culture. Zoom video recording available here.

December 2018 – 5th Annual Story Swap
The theme:  Stories of completion and of planning.  It was the time of year to complete projects.  It was also the time to think about the new year and plan accordingly.  This story lab featured members of the SIO and their stories of completion and planning for the future. (audio/video are not available)

November 2018 – Stuart Rothgiesser
Using Personal Story for Stakeholder Engagement. This story lab featured anthropologist and narrative expert Stuart Rothgiesser (more here)How does one combine personal story and social science for research purposes?  Stuart provided case studies of how his company has used storytelling and story sharing in order to gain deep insights, build trust and encourage communication within and between teams. This video Story Lab was recorded using the “Zoom” video conference application and filed on the SIO YouTube Channel available here.

October 2018 – Tom Sparough
“Ghost Stories to Keep Your Organization Alive!”  Tom has been working on his collection of organizational ghost stories that raise questions about, and reveal values about organizations. For more information about Tom, check his website.  Recorded October 23; not yet available, though you may access this recording via the following DropBox link:

July 2018 – Cheryl Cofield and Pearl Alexander
Many people talk about how an organization is strengthened when it is more diverse, yet how does that strengthening happen?  How do we recognize and leverage that diversity in strengthening organizations?

June 2018 – Kim Weitkamp
Kim describes her work with nonprofits to develop their story to inspire their volunteer workforce. Kim says that “a business or an organization that does not know its own story will never reach its full potential, no matter how much they’ve strategically planned.”  For more on the power of story, visit Kim’s website here.

March 2018 – Gerry Grubbs
Gerry describes his role as a lawyer (he’s also a poet!) and the intersection it has with storytelling and poetry.  Of his clients, he says, “their words, their story become the most important evidence in the courtroom. It has to be more believable than the story told by the other lawyer.” Check out Gerry’s poetry here.

February 2018 – Julie Fitzgerald Rafferty
Corporate Upheaval in entire industries created by companies like Uber and Netflix is fueling a desire among donors for their nonprofit investments to have similar game-changing effects. Nonprofits can use this same disruptive technique to convey the transformative nature of what they do to inspire greater living. Here’s Julie’s website.

January 2018 – Jeff Rock
Corporate Bullying: Jeff discusses how he works with his coaching clients to rethink and rewrite their narratives to reclaim their core essence.  For more about Jeff and his work, check this link.

December 2017 – Board Members and Other Callers
Fourth Annual Story Swap: It’s the thought that counts! Gifts in an organizational setting with benefits that may not have been obvious at the time.

November 2017 – Julienne Ryan
The Importance of Being “The Other”: It’s about small lessons learned when she experienced “the others” and made small steps toward understanding; small steps that required a lot of change; small steps that were not easy, but small steps that made the differenceFor more about Julienne and her work, visit her website.

October 2017 – Board Members and Other Callers
All Things Story: Best practices in the field from board members and callers.

July 2017 – Seung Ah Kim
Inspiration for Organizational Storytelling in Korea: From Myth to Present-Day Reality. Discussion about storytelling in Korea. Visit her website.

June 2017 – Andrew Tarvin
Humor That Works. A discussion about using humor in organizational settings and why it leads to increase productivity. Note, this conversation ends abruptly because of a technical glitch. Learn more about Andrew’s work here.

May 2017 – Dr. Joan Colleran Hoxsey
What if? An exploration into how people and organizations change when the focus is on strengths.

April 2017 – Rives Collins
Storytelling as the glue that holds people and communities together.

February 2017 – Tim Vogt
Non-profit sector storytelling for friend and fundraising. Tim is executive director for Starfire Council creating new stories for people with developmental disabilities.

January 2017 – Trisha Griffin-Carty
Coaching tips for interviewing and networking. Are you telling the right stories?

December 2016 – SIO Story Swap
Organizational gifts, stories told by 5 tellers on this open swap call.
Coaching tips for interviewing and networking. Are you telling the right stories?

November 2016 – Laura Packer
How to Get Storytelling-in-Organizations Work.

October 2016 – Tom Sparough
Managing the Dead, Ghost Stories to Keep Your Organization Alive.

September 2016 – Cindy Rivka Marshall
Story to promote inclusivity and to honor diversity.

August 2016 – Lori Silverman
A continuation of our May conversation, this time Lori focuses on future story.

July 2016 – Elizabeth Ellis
Authentic Leadership, say what you mean and mean what you say.

June 2016 – No Story Lab

May 2016 – Lori Silverman
Popular author explains why we should turn data into story.

April 2016 – Ted Parkhurst
The publisher of storybooks tells “Why You Should Write A Book.”

March 2016 – Karen Dietz
Storytelling for business.

February 2016 – Andrew Tarvin
Adding insight and wisdom through humor.

January 2016 – Kendall Haven
Applying the neuro and cognitive science of story.

December 2015 – Story Swap
A few SIO members share stories about organizational gratitude.

November 2015 – Lani Peterson
A narrative therapist’s perspective entitled From Thin to Thick: Expanding Your Organizational Story.

October 2015 – David Hutchens
David, former SIO chair, shares examples of using story methodology in organizational settings from his book Circle of the 9 Muses.

September 2015 – Mark Goldman
From Blog to Book, Mark shares his experience of transforming his weekly website blog into 101 Storytelling Tips.

August 2015 – Membership Meeting
This is a conversation and report by the SIO board of the current opportunities being offered by our group.

July 2015 – Annette Simmons
Casual conversation after Annette’s pre-conference presentation for SIO at the National Storytelling Conference, Kansas City, MO.

June 2015 – Tony Meola
A senior banking executive shares his take on why storytelling is a powerful tool for every business person.

May 2015 – Jeff Leinaweaver
This professor, author, and corporate bard shares his case for storytelling and sustainability.

April 2015 – Buck Creacy
Buck shares the story of how he got the title of corporate storyteller for the world’s largest automotive manufacturer.

March 2015 – Doug Lipman
A renowned storytelling coach and author, Doug shares his insights on hidden storytelling skills.

February 2015 – Henry DeVries
Tune in for an explanation of how storytelling and marketing go hand and hand.  Plus a nice explanation of story types.

January 2015 – Bill Wight
Storytelling for Corporate Change Agents.  Hear Bill’s journey of 30 years of change in the manufacturing industry and the role of intentional storytelling.

December 2014 – Stories of Compassion
This was a story swap call. Several people shared stories about organizational compassion, what it looks like, and how they have experienced it.

November 2014 – Juanita Brown
Juanita Brown, P.hD., co-founder of World Cafe, shared her insights into storytelling and large-group organizational change.

October 2014 – Patrick Donnelly
Corporate Storytelling by Design. Storytelling and cultural design from an architectural point of view.

September 2014 – Membership Meeting
This is a membership meeting and report of what the group had done over the last year.

August 2014 – Ann Scroggie
Story of a Penny.  Ann shares her wealth of knowledge as an award winning professor and story coach.

July 2014 – Tricia Suchodolski
Tricia is knowledge management officer of the US Forest Service, which is utilizing storytelling as a wisdom tool.

June 2014 – Story Swap
A variety of tellers from our group share organizational stories.

May 2014 – Geoff Mead
Featuring tips from the author of “Telling the Story, the Heart and Soul of Successful Leadership.”

April 2014 – Peter Dominick
Pete shares his experience teaching storytelling to graduate students in technology management.

March 2014 – Pete Griffin
Our veteran board member and naturalist shares his story “Everything I Know About Leadership I learned from Beavers.”  More on Pete (Storytelling Ranger) at his website.

February 2014 – Sara Armstrong
A fascinating plunge into the world and uses of dilemma stories.

January 2014 – Mary Alice Arthur
A systematic method of storytelling and collective story harvesting.

December 2013 – Story Swap
Several members share stories based on the theme of “Giving.”

November 2013 – Mark Steiman
A business executive shares his love of story and “The Shortest Story,” and “The Bread Loaf Pan.”

October 2013 – Molly Catron
Molly shares her story entitled Rubber Glove War, which is about a manufacturing ethical dilemma.

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