Storytelling that Builds a Connection Between Strangers

My mother always told me that everyone has a story that is supremely important to them. If we only knew what they were thinking or going through, we’d reach out and comfort them. That act of compassion would provide us comfort as well. She was a pretty smart lady.

In Hollywood, screenwriters are always advised that each and every character has a purpose; a life of their own. Even if they only show up in one scene to support the lead characters, to the supporting players they are in the middle of their own life. Every character in every story is the lead character in their own life.

In our businesses every person we come in contact with has an impact on us. I’m always dumbfounded when I hear someone say they’re self-made. None of us are; we’ve all had lots of help along the way. It’s a great reminder to truly listen the next time a client or prospect calls. They have their own agenda, their own desires. We may have a pretty good idea of what they require but if we listen very closely we can discover what they really need.

Cleveland Clinic released a video that defines great storytelling. It focuses on the connections we all to each other as human beings. If we only knew what was happening in other people’s lives perhaps we’d be more compassionate; more understanding. Not just of others but ourselves as well.

The video is a series of clips of patients, visitors, families and loved ones, doctors, nurses, hospital employees played with a quiet soundtrack that is both hopeful and emotionally touching. The message of the video comes across with text across the screen, revealing people’s situations – why they’re in the hospital. Looking at their faces while reading about their challenges hits you in the gut.

Who could I listen to just a little bit more closely today? How might that moment change everything and everyone?…

“This is Water”

In May of 2005, the brilliant writer David Foster Wallace delivered the commencement speech at Kenyon College. The full title of his talk is, “This Is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life.”  This is a brilliantly produced video. Grabs your attention; uses powerful imagery; and the motion graphics throughout add a concreteness to the wisdom David shared with the graduating class.

David was a stunning writer although he led what appears to have be a very troubled life.

This nine-minute video was produced by The Glossary and published on Youtube and Vimeo in May 2013. Lots of inspiration for your next speech, video or presentation.

This is Water from Patrick Buckley on Vimeo.

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Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns on Story

Ken Burns has been trying to wake the dead for his entire career. Emmy® Award winning documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns, knows what matters when creating engaging story experiences for his audiences. He has created over two dozen documentary films ranging from the mini-series’ “The Civil War” to “Baseball” as well as “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” “Jazz,” and “The War,” among others.

His style incorporates archival still photographs & footage and simple, yet poignant musical melodies to immerse us into the time and culture of his subjects. Burns lets his subjects and images tell the stories rather than using a wide variety of special effects, He is well known for his signature style of zooming-and-panning across images to create a sense of motion and aliveness. It has become so effective it has been incorporated into a variety of imaging & video software tools and is affectionately named the “Ken Burns Effect.”

In this short video from Redglass Pictures, the filmmaker offers up his wisdom on the power of story. He shares how contradiction is at the heart of great characters; that truth is a byproduct of our stories; and that emotional truth is something you have to build.

Great stories are about change and when we use storytelling in our marketing we are offering our audience an opportunity. A chance to see and experience life differently; a way to transcend a given situation. These are just a couple of possibilities offered us by great stories.

How could you share your “truth” with your customers, community and the world to connect more powerfully, more authentically, more emotionally? Watch and let me know your single biggest “aha” moment in the comments down below.

Ken Burns: On Story from Redglass Pictures on Vimeo.…

How We Make Sense of the World

One of our earliest interactions with the outside world, is listening to our parents read us stories. It’s how we make sense of the world we are awakening to.

Human beings are storying creatures. We make sense of the world and the things that happen to us by constructing narratives to explain and interpret events both to ourselves and to other people. The narrative structures and the vocabularies that we use when we craft and tell our tales of our perceptions and experiences are also, in themselves, significant, providing information about our social and cultural positioning: to paraphrase Wittgenstein (1953), the limits of my language are the limits of my world.…