I teach storytelling workshops to business executives and sustainability professionals around the country, and I’m always gratified to see how people from every imaginable endeavor naturally embrace story. But some audience members get frustrated when they can’t quickly grasp and apply the basic structure of story in business. Therefore, I’ve been searching for a tool or technique to make storytelling easier.
I found it last week.
The new book, Connection: Hollywood Storytelling meets Critical Thinking, and its storymaker app are just what a start-up storyteller needs to turn shit into Shakespeare quickly. In fact, I used the creator’s ABT formula of story structure to write my lead. ABT stands for “and,” “but” and “therefore”. This structure is synonymous with the three parts or acts of every story: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Its beginning, middle, and end.
The thesis above is the exposition about my ordinary world of presenting storytelling workshops AND being gratified by the response people generally have toward storytelling. BUT begins my antithesis that details the frustration of audiences not clearly understanding story structure when it appears so innately obvious to most people. The synthesis is found in my THEREFORE statement that describes my search for a tool or technique to help students more easily create stories in an attempt to bring the opposing worlds together in harmony.
Here’s a quick video that explains the Connection method and how this marvelously simple Connection Storymaker app works.
I used the storymaker app to prepare for a storytelling workshop at Thunderbird School of Global Management and its soon-to-be MBAs. I lucked out to have the workshop scheduled for Halloween, which helped on the theming of my story. Here’s what resulted.
TITLE: How NOT to Become an MBA Zombie
SENTENCE: Business students come from around the world to study at Thunderbird School of Global Management AND they are earning an internationally respected MBA with a nearly 70 year history of excellence, BUT business is changing as stakeholders are becoming more powerful than shareholders, THEREFORE in order to thrive in the business world, educated professionals must learn how to connect to their employees and customers emotionally, rather than intellectually, to propel their companies forward.
PARAGRAPH: Once upon a time, Pete, an ambitious and likable MBA student, was about to graduate from the prestigious Thunderbird School of Global Management like thousands of blue-suited business executives had done for 70 years before him… The bright, but naive, student gets his life upended when he learns his “hard skills” of number crunching are no match for the rising consumer voice made possible by the democratization of communication on the internet. After the newly minted MBA realizes that the old data-driven ways of running companies is being overthrown by customers who are becoming more vocal about their love/hate relationships with brands, Pete opens himself to new opportunities to connect with stakeholders. But traditional business curriculum has not kept pace with evolving trends in customer engagement, and seasoned executives continue to dismiss the “soft skills” of communication, even while the online community of activists is growing exponentially. Pete must learn the art of business storytelling so he can connect on a more emotional level with his newly empowered consumer, outperform his competition, and become a torchbearer for a new generation of humanized MBAs.
Check out the Connection Storymaker app even if you don’t get the book (Although I highly recommend both). It’ll be the best $.99 investment you’ll ever make in your storied career. Then start connecting with human beings on more emotional, meaning-filled terms.