A View from Blue Grotto

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


I have to give a shout out to my friends at ReadyTalk. ReadyTalk offers audio and web conferencing services. And what better way to advertise their services than with FREE webinars – the ReadyTalk Web Seminar Series. This series offers a hugely diverse range of speakers and topics. I subscribe to their newsletter and regularly receive updates on upcoming seminars. I forward on links to colleagues I think might find the topic, or the speaker, of interest. I am also a regular participant on the calls.

I’ve prepared content for many clients that use ReadyTalk services to communicate with audiences ranging from the local and national media, to key shareholders, and even a volunteer recruitment effort.

The very best thing about the ReadyTalk Web Seminar Series (beside the fact that they are free, which I cannot emphasize enough) – they catalog and make available (for free) each of their previously recorded seminars. If you miss the original broadcast, you can go back and peruse the topics/speakers at your leisure.

And that’s what I did when I found myself with an extra hour on hand and the need for a blog topic.

I was thrilled to see the webinar titled Storytelling and Strategy, hosted by Mickey Connolly, the founder and CEO of Conversant, a communications consulting firm based in Boulder, Colorado.

I was super impressed with, and super envious of, Conversant’s client roster which includes McDonald’s, Johnson & Johnson, Capital One, and Honeywell to name only a few. Mr. Connolly rightly acknowledges that their client list illustrates the investment companies are willing to make in storytelling.

An interesting observation Connolly made was that stories are told before, during, and after meetings and that the stories told after a meeting concludes often have the greatest impact. Meetings, especially meetings of the “marathon” kind, are chocked full of information, data, bullet points. Storytelling allows people to put that concentration of info into a more useful context.

Of the hour-long webinar, I found his list of five key purposes stories have in an organization to be right on. According to Connolly, stories:
1) Need to make sense
2) Create relationships among people
3) Improve your memory, and help you to better retain information
4) Inspire insight
5) Stimulate action

Since we consider ourselves of an expert level in storytelling at Blue Grotto, we agree that storytelling can reveal many valuable lessons about your organization’s management, decision-making, leadership, innovation and business philosophy.

And, storytelling may be your best approach to duplicating your key messages. A story, more so than those flow charts or power point presentations, can motivate someone to action.

Email me with an example of how you leverage storytelling in your organization.

And visit http://www.readytalk.com/web-seminar-series to peruse the webinars offered.

One amusing comment by Mr. Connolly: “Not all stories are valuable.” Hmmm.

Yvonne Hundshamer
President, Blue Grotto Inc.