Leadership lessons from life: It’s OK to be out of control, sometimes


Business StorytellingRecently we facilitated a business storytelling workshop when Candice Lance, Communications and Events Officer shared this story.  Business storytelling that  had us on the edge of our seats, was funny and had a simple yet powerful message.  It also took only about a minute or so to tell and demonstrates how you can use personal experiences as the basis for your stories.  Ticks all our boxes for business storytelling.

The plane had just reached 12,000 feet – I was sitting on the edge of the open door. The time had come, it was my turn.  In just a split second my mind raced – what was I thinking, what did I have to do, what did they tell me, was the guy behind me having a good day, was this such a good idea?

Didn’t really matter what the answer was to any of those questions – I was out the door, no turning back. I was bending like a banana, holding on like I was told, remembering my training and plummeting towards the ground – I was tandem sky diving!  

What a rush. I was flying. I was free. As we continued to fall I remembered the videos of this moment as people landed safely on the ground crying and hugging their instructor I thought, ‘what saps I would never do that’.  Moments later my feet touched the ground I was jumping up and down,  hugging my instructor, crying – yes what a sap!  

I am not sure if I would go sky diving again, but I did learn a lesson or two. Sometimes it is OK to let go, some times it’s OK to be out of control. And it is definitely OK to trust your training and the people who are the trained experts.

You got to love it – personal experiences as the basis for your stories! Where else have you seen this done well?  Please comment below and share your experiences with us.  Thanks.

‘Business Storytelling’ The most important thing to remember


A facilitator launched into a workshop with this story:

“Last week I watched my wife preparing a pot roast. As I watched she cut off one end of the roast and set it aside. I Asked her why she did this. She answered, “Because my mother always cut off the end of roast.”  I was still confused so I went to my mother-in-law and asked the same question. She said. “Because my mother always did it that way!” I still thought it was strange and so I went to my wife’s grandmother and asked her about this strange family practice. She just laughed and said, “I always cut off the end of the roast because I didn’t have a pan big enough the hold roast.” Some traditions are like that!  Let’s look at what we do and why we do it that way.”

All the participants connected with the story and the message.  The next day another facilitator arrived and said ‘I want to share this parable with you’ and repeated the same story!  Much to the shock of all the participants.  Needless to say the  credibility of the previous facilitator was shot to pieces…because he had passed off  this parable as his own.

One of the participant’s shared this whole experience with us adding ‘We were so angry and didn’t care any more about the valuable stuff that we had learnt in the workshop any more.  All we could remember was he had lied to us by saying this had happened to him when clearly it was a well known story.  We started to wonder what else he had said was not true.’

If a story is not your own, the simplest yet most important storytelling technique is to always credit your stories.   Credit your stories and stay credible.  This is the most important tip for business storytelling.

Where have you seen authentic or inauthentic storytelling?  Please share your comments with us.