Annette Simmons is one of my favorites. I read and reviewed the “Story Factor”. It is one of the best Storytelling books available right now. There are a large number of storytelling, presentation technique etc. books and they are growing. What is peculiar with the whole thing is that there are a surprisingly number of really bad storytellers that write books.
Annette Simmons has an exceptional gift of writing in a plain yet meaningful language. This book is an interesting mix of techniques, discussions and of course stories.
Compared to Story Factor, this is a hands-on book. Each chapter ends with couple of exercises. I know what you think! I don’t like empty pages with lines either. Anyone writing in their “paper” books should be shot. You don’t ever write in a book. With that said! The exercises are useful and if you keep an open mind, They actually helps!
I like the sections; Thinking in Story, Finding Stories to Tell & Perfecting the Craft.
Annette Simmons manages to capture the three most important aspects and difficulties with storytelling. I have worked with storytelling professionally for some time and find both her books very useful and fun to read. It provides both new insight to old subjects and some completely new things as well.
In summary, this is a very good book and worth the investment both the time and money. Don’t skip the exercises, I skipped them and went back. It was worth it!
Here are some of my notes from the book.
- People need more from you. They want to feel your presence in your message, to taste a trace of humanity that proves there is a “you” send them this message.
- Communication is never an end goal. Communication is always a means to a goal
- People crave confirmation of a self-image that makes them feel important, desirable, amd good
- To protect you from a life of narcissistic, emotional waywardness, you were sent to school to learn how to be useful.
- Subjective is not the opposite of objective
- The language of the subjective is story. Story is how humans interpret things as good or bad, important or irrelevant, safe or dangerous, and who is “one of us” or “one of them”.
- Storytelling give us access to the emotions that will occur as a result of your decision whether you acknowledge them or not.
- Hypothetical situations sound hypocritical and preachy. Be Specific.
- When a problem is perceptual, subjective or emotionally charged, root-cause analysis can actually make things worse.
- In most cases personal stories are always appropriate whenever “person” are involved.
- Inauthentic stories only happen when you try to hide who you really are or try to be someone you are not.
- Criticizing a story to son just demoralizes the teller form invalidates the subject.
- Understand that it takes more courage to ask for positive comments than it does to ask for feedback.
- Story is a co-creation in your mind and the mind of at least one listener.
- The secret of good storytelling is having the confidence to protect your creative process in the early stages from criticism- internal as well as external.
- The biggest mistake companies make is managing to the averages. How long, n average, to open an account= what the average level of customer satisfaction? Averages hide as much as they reveal.
- Creativity is, in essence, deviation from the norm.
- People mindlessly try to improve communication by increasing efficiency (speed) and focus. That is great when you seek only to inform. However, when you seek to influence, speed and focus narrow the bandwidth across which you communicate.
- Listening is slow and wide rather than fast and narrow.
- “Going pro …” is to learn how to mentally and emotionally transport into different points of view
All in all this is one of the best books. Not as good as Story Factor, but still a very good book to read after the first one.
Hope Annette is working on the next one!