Story Radar (Not Everything is a Story)

Fine tune your story radar before launching into storytelling.

The idea of storytelling for leadership and business is generating a lot of interest these days, as it well should. Stories are one of the most powerful ways to communicate. Stories can be memorable and meaningful. They’re immensely useful – whether you want to lead people, market your business, or just get some laughs. The best writers read a lot, and the best storytellers pay close attention and listen to the stories around them. But what exactly is a story, and what do you listen for?



As Shawn says in the video above, just because people are talking, it doesn’t mean it’s a story! I learned this the hard way several years ago, when I rushed too quickly into asking  the attendees in one of my early workshops to “tell stories.” Half of the participants  “got it” immediately and loved it. The other half were still struggling with idea of what exactly a story was. I remember thinking, “Don’t people know what a story is already?!”

Now, we do the “Story Radar” exercise, in advance of the program, and it is so effective! You can do it, too. Spend a day – even half a day – noting down every story you hear. Conversations you join or overhear, television, radio, web and other media, etc – write it all down. You’ll be amazed at number of stories you hear in a day, and it will make you a better story communicator too.

So what do you listen for? Shawn Callahan from Anecdote in Australia shares the four points in the great video above.

  • A time
  • A place
  • Dialogue
  • Unanticipated events

Did you notice the story that Shawn told in the video? Now take the Story Radar challenge for a day. You will be pleasantly surprised!

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