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Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success Hardcover – July 27, 2017
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“…one of those special business books that isn't just a business book. It's a gift.” –Blue Heron Journal
“Choy illustrates skills that make storytelling work—giving raw experience narrative shape, finding the right structure, and ending on the right note.” –Success magazine
“In Let the Story Do the Work Choy explains how to turn even the most boring situations into fabulous anecdotes.” —Monster
“Every business pitch has to tell a solid overall story…I found some great guidance on how best to do this in a new book by Esther Choy.” —Inc. magazine
“We can soon forget facts and figures but we never forget a good story, and Choy can help us make sure our story is a good one.” –The Chronicle Herald
“Check out Choy's book for stories, tips and boilerplate scripts you can use. Then prepare yourself—because once you transfix people with one good tale, they'll no doubt want more.” –HR magazine
“…makes a compelling case about how building up you skills in this area can help make leaders more effective…offers plenty of practical exercises and guidelines that will boost your business success.” –Accounting Today
People forget facts, but they never forget a good story.
\It sounds so simple: Incorporate a story and people will remember your message. But when you get down to crafting one, there’s nothing easy about it.
Material for stories surrounds us. Yet few people are skilled at sharing personal anecdotes and even fewer know how to link them to professional goals. Whether you want to stand out in the interview process, add punch to a presentation, or make a compelling case for a new initiative, Let the Story Do the Work shows you how to mine your experience for simple narratives that convey who you are, what you want to achieve, and why others should care.
Packed with enlightening examples, the book explains how to find the perfect hook, structure your story…and deliver it at the right time in the right way. You’ll discover how to use stories to:
Capture attention • Engage your audience • Change minds • Inspire action • Bring facts and data to life • Clarify challenging concepts • Pitch persuasively • Fundraise effectively • And more
Never underestimate the power of a great story. Learn to leverage the elements of storytelling—and turn everyday communications into opportunities to connect, gain buy-in, and build lasting relationships.
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That said, she provides in her book an abundance of valuable information, insights, and counsel that can help almost any reader to strengthen their skills in each of what Aristotle characterized (in Rhetoric) as the “four levels of discourse”: exposition (explaining with information), description (making vivid with compelling images), narration (telling a story or explaining a sequence), and argumentation (convincing with logic and/or evidence). It is no coincidence that most of the great leaders throughout history were brilliant storytellers.
They mastered what Choy identifies as the core components of a story:
How the given material is organized and presented will depend, of course, on two key factors: which approach to take, and, what will be of greatest interest and value to the given audience. Abraham Lincoln used humor to diffuse anger and reduce opposition whereas Martin Luther King shared his dreams in order inspire others to help make those dreams come true.
These are among the several dozen passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Choy’s coverage:
o Principal elements of storytelling (Pages 11-19)
o The Five Basic Plots (26-32)
o Examples of five basic plots (35-43)
o Audiences (47-64)
o AIA: Acknowledge-Inspire-Action (53-55, 81-82, and 95-96)
o U.S. Bank acquisition of Charter One Bank (56-64)
o Telling Stories with Data (65-70)
o Know Your Audience: The Five Categories (70-73)
o Story Pictures (100-127)
o Vicious Cycle (101-104)
o Points of View (130-133)
o Asking “crazy good” questions (136-139)
o Aggressive listening (140-147)
o Telling your story (151-169)
o Persuasion and telling your story (161-164)
o Networking (171-185)
o Responding to the “What do you do?” question (177-181)
o Non-profit organization storytelling (187-201)
o Intermountain Healthcare (206-207)
Although Esther Choy focuses primarily on the business applications of the basic storytelling principles, strategies, and tactics, I presume to suggest that almost all of them can also guide and inform the process by which we can function much more effectively in non-business situations. That is, situations in which the question to be answered or the problem to be solved is unrelated to business issues. Teaching offers almost unlimited opportunities as do competitive athletics.
Yes, it is possible to “let the story do the work” but only after the given material has substance and significance. Thus viewed, the art of storytelling is relative to – and this book is relevant to -- almost any situation in which the objective is to achieve success in one form or another.