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    Let's dig into business storytelling and put it to work for you! Click the button below to listen and/or subscribe on your favorite podcast player.

  • Episodes

    Episode 38

    Spreading the Word

    Few professions rely on storytelling the way pastors, priests, ministers, and other religious leaders do. They not only tell the stories from the scriptures of their respective faiths, but they also often use stories to make their teachings relatable and memorable. My guest is no exception. Rev. Mark Drengler of St. James Lutheran Church in Shawano, Wisconsin. Pastor Mark has a talent for using stories, including those about his favorite football team, to make his sermons memorable for his congregation.

    Episode 37

    Marketing & Medicine

    What do medicine and marketing have in common? Turns out, quite a lot. My guest this week is Dr. K. Patrick Ober, a physician and professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Dr. Ober feels that storytelling is an important component of practicing medicine. Understanding the patient’s story, their values, beliefs, and worries, and their lives, helps healthcare providers demonstrate empathy for their patients. Empathy is also important in marketing, and Dr. Ober’s approach hold lessons for us in that field.

    Episode 36

    Overcoming Stigmas

    In this episode, I speak with Paige Humble ad Justin Brian Nicholson of the Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina. As cancers go, Lung Cancer has a stigma of being associated with smoking, but that's not always the case. That stigma can limit funding and even slow down diagnoses. Justin and Brian talk about how they use storytelling to overcome this stigma.

    Episode 35

    How to Stand Out

    Standing out among your competition is the most important marketing task there is. Storytelling helps, but to tell better stories, you need to embrace what makes you special. Author and speaker Stan Phelps tells you how in his book, “Pink Goldfish.” In this week’s episode, I spoke to Stan about how companies can stand out.

    Episode 34

    COVID Observations

    In some ways, the pandemic has changed the way companies and organizations need to communicate with their audiences. In other ways, it solidified what they should have been doing all along. In this episode I share my observations about communicating during COVID, and what it means for storytelling.

    Episode 33

    A Video Tells 1,000 Stories

    This Week’s guest is audio/video producer Evan Staehle. In our conversation, we talk about how companies, organizations, and even individuals can and should use video to tell their stories, why video is so important, and what mistakes they sometimes make.

    Episode 32

    The Storytelling Companion

    With everything that’s happening in the world – a virus, an election, racial tension, riots – is a podcast about storytelling really all that important? In this episode, I reflect on that and share some examples of how storytelling has tremendous power beyond marketing

    Episode 31

    Communicating in a Crisis

    This week my guest is Shawn Draper of Draper DNA. Shawn is a marketing strategist who has extensive experience serving clients through good times and bad. With the current pandemic, social unrest, and uncertain economy, many companies are struggling with how to communicate to their customers and stakeholders. I talk with Shawn about communicating in a crisis.

    Episode 30

    Creating an Emotional Connection

    In this episode, I speak with architect Kavitha Marudadu of DMAC Architecture in Chicago. Kavitha says that as architects, they view themselves as storytellers. Their job is to create an emotional connection between the spaces they design and the people who use them, all the while building the brand of their clients. There are some interesting parallels between storytelling in architecture and storytelling in communication, and I explore them in this episode.

    Episode 29

    5 Rules of Storytelling

    In my first year running this podcast, I spoke to a lot of interesting people and learned a lot about how they use storytelling to reach their customers, donors, or other audiences. I share some of these lessons in a presentation I gave to an audience (a virtual audience) at The Frontier

    Episode 28

    What Makes a Great Story

    As corporate communicators and marketers, we are usually charged with accomplishing some kind of goal – selling a product, building a brand, getting people to take some kind of action. Sometimes, we lose sight of what makes a story great. This episode’s guest is Heather Burgiss, producer, director and host of “My Home NC,” a documentary-style program on PBS. She shares her approach to storytelling, including finding stories and crafting them to be interesting and inspiring.

    Episode 27

    Celebrate Your People

    One of the most important audiences you can communicate with is within your own walls. Your employees, teams, departments. Your people. They not only represent your brand, but they are the ones who help your organization achieve their goals. But simply communicating to them is not enough. You have to celebrate them. That’s the approach taken by this episode’s guest, Joe Phillips, director of technology for Kansas City Public Schools. Joe shares his approach in this episode.

    Episode 26

    Lessons from Podfade

    After a nasty case of podfade, The Storytelling Companion returns with a new season. This season will be different in a few ways. But what won’t change is my commitment to bringing you interviews with interesting people who have important lessons to share about storytelling, communication, content, and more.

    Episode 25

    Hard to Say I'm Sorry

    Apologizing is one of the hardest things for companies and high-profile people to do. Everyone screws up every now and then, but the tendency is to non-apologize, deflect, and minimize their mistakes. This is a missed opportunity. Apologies let you be vulnerable and relatable to your audience, and forge a stronger relationship with them.

    Episode 24

    Stories Tell the Facts, Part 2

    Last week, we met attorney Tara Warwick, who introduced us to the idea of storytelling in the courtroom. This week we continue that discussion, as Tara shares her tips for using stories to connect with your audience and communicate important facts. And, I share my closing arguments.

    Episode 23

    Stories Tell the Facts, Part 1

    Often, when communicating to an audience, the goal is to share certain facts so that they are remembered an understood. This is often true in marketing, but it’s also true in the legal arena. Lawyers have to present facts to a judge or jury, so the right verdict is rendered. Believe it or not, lawyers are starting to use storytelling to help them make their cases. This week, I talk to Tara Warwick of Carnes Warwick, and she shares her thoughts on legal storytelling.

    Episode 22

    Pictures Tell the Story

    We live in a visually oriented media world. So photography has never been more important. Especially when they are used to capture events like weddings…or corporate gatherings. This week’s guest is photographer Kelli Price, who talks about the nuances of telling the story of an event through pictures.

    Episode 21

    Storytelling Keeps You Faithful

    Purdue Pharma is in a lot of trouble, criminally, financially, and existentially. Their failures run so deep, that it’s likely nothing could have taken them off the course they were on. But if they had a culture based on a love for the customer, and storytelling to convey that love, maybe things would be different.

    Episode 20

    Keep It Real

    The Fyre Festival was a prime example of what can happen when marketers focus on themselves instead of what’s important – their customers. More importantly, it’s reflective of an aspect of our Instagram culture that’s not too flattering. One that we, as marketers, ought to be diligent about resisting.

    Episode 19

    Tell Your Embarrassing Stories

    Terry Vaughan visits the makeshift studios again, this time to share an embarrassing story from his past. More importantly, he shares the lessons he learned from his experience, and I share the lessons I learned from hearing his story.

    Episode 18

    Bond with your Customers through Symbolism

    Storytelling is a powerful tool in business communications, but it’s often misunderstood. The Storytelling Companion is a podcast dedicated to helping you sharpen your storytelling skills so you can connect with your audiences. We’ll talk to people from all walks of business, hear their stories, and share storytelling lessons and techniques you can apply in your work.

    Episode 17

    Habitat for Humanity Storytelling, Part 2

    This episode is Part 2 of my conversation with Shala Carlson, storytelling director at Habitat for Humanity. In this episode, I discuss the five big lessons about storytelling from Habitat for Humanity. As an organization, Habitat for Humanity understands storytelling better than most, and their approach offers lessons that can benefit all of us.

    Episode 16

    Habitat for Humanity Storytelling, Part 1

    Habitat for Humanity is one of the world’s most respected nonprofit organizations. It’s also an organization that understands the power of storytelling, and they do it well. In this two-part series, I talk with Shala Carlson, Habitat’s senior director of storytelling, to learn how they approach storytelling, and what for-profit companies can learn from them.

    Episode 15

    Love Thy Audience

    In this episode, we explore the concept of audience empathy. It’s a critical concept that’s often misunderstood. So I talk about it with someone who embodies audience empathy. Barbara Gamberini is a standardized patient for medical schools, and she knows the importance of empathizing with, and even loving her audience.

    Episode 14

    Your Audience Comes First

    Too often in content marketing and storytelling, the focus is on the company or brand sharing the content. It’s all about generating an outcome, getting a result, and creating ROI. In this episode, I argue that this approach is flawed, and that ROI should be the last consideration. Instead, focus on your audience and what they need. The results might be surprising.

    Episode 13

    The Effect of Storytelling

    Stories can have a profound effect on your audience. Sometimes in ways that you don't anticipate. But when you're authentic, when you're unafraid to include the uncomfortable parts, there's no telling who you can reach, and how you can impact them.

    Episode 12

    Start a Podcast!

    Storytelling is a powerful tool in business communications, but it’s often misunderstood. The Storytelling Companion is a podcast dedicated to helping you sharpen your storytelling skills so you can connect with your audiences. We’ll talk to people from all walks of business, hear their stories, and share storytelling lessons and techniques you can apply in your work.

    Episode 11

    5 Keys to Successful Business Storytelling

    Storytelling for strategic, business purposes is a big topic, and I can’t claim to be an expert. But over the course of producing this podcast, I’ve learned a few things. In this episode, I share my thoughts on how you can tell your stories. As I see it, there are 5 main keys to using storytelling to connect with your professional audiences.

    Episode 10

    Business with Purpose

    The idea of purpose has received a lot of attention. A company with a clear and compelling purpose, to help social causes or to make a positive impact on the world, is attractive to customers as well as talent. In this episode, I talk to Scott Morris, a Real Estate broker who has incorporated social purpose into his business model. It’s a purpose driven by a story about his son.

    Episode 9

    Connective Tissue

    Every individual and every organization, company or nonprofit is made up of actions, achievements, events and occurrences. These are the things that shape us and make us who we are. If we want other people to understand us, to be persuaded by our message and to join our community, we need to connect to them. Stories are that connective tissue.

    Episode 8

    Why Storytelling: A Manifesto

    Over the last few months doing this podcast, I’ve learned is that storytelling as a business communications discipline is more important that I realized. In this episode, I explain why, and I also make an announcement.

    Episode 7

    The Body (Language) Episode

    Sometimes we have to get out from behind our computers and communicate with people face-to-face. In those instances, body language is critical to how and what you communicate. Learning about body language can also make you a better storyteller. Body language expert Terry Vaughan shares his thoughts.

    Episode 6

    Worth the Risk

    In this episode, we talk again to Jen Jones, owner of New Love City. Jen talks about the scary prospect of sticking to her values, being authentic, and telling her story. It may sound risky, but it’s the only way to go.

    Bonus Episode!

    What's your Favorite Story?

    What’s your favorite story? Everyone has one. I asked three of my recent guests about theirs.

    Episode 5

    Speak Boldly and Be Yourself

    Erica Suter is a soccer and strength coach, and a prolific blogger who uses her distinct voice and edgy language to attract a large audience. She talks about the ups and downs of her approach.

    Episode 4

    Inspiring Your Audiences

    In this episode, we meet Andre Curtain, founder of Teach One Tech. Andre’s organization is dedicated to expose kids to STEM and inspire them to follow a path toward a career in innovation. They do that by allowing kids to discover and write their own stories.

    Episode 3

    Do Good and Tell Your Story

    In this episode, we talk with Kori Reed, a consultant who has worked corporate social responsibility and foundations for some big brands. She tells us why stories can be so valuable in CSR.

    Episode 2

    Walk Among Your Customers

    In this episode, we meet Jen Jones, owner of New Love City, a yoga studio in Brooklyn. Jen is building her studio’s brand through a keen understanding of her customers.

    Episode 1

    Find Your Voice

    In this episode, we talk with Lonna Hardin, author of “Melody’s Song, and the City of the Voice Snatchers.” Children’s books wrap important lessons in compelling stories. “Melody’s Song” has a lesson not only for children, but also those of us in the business world.

    Preview Episode

    The Storytelling Companion

    Storytelling is a powerful tool in business communications, but it’s often misunderstood. The Storytelling Companion is a podcast dedicated to helping you sharpen your storytelling skills so you can connect with your audiences. We’ll talk to people from all walks of business, hear their stories, and share storytelling lessons and techniques you can apply in your work.