Storytelling – Once upon a time


I’ve been fascinated by the power of stories in the most diverse contexts. Be it while inventing a crazy tale for my kids (fun, specially when the kid loves surreal random stuff and girl loves consistency… a delicate balance), or during a presentation as an analogy or stage setting, sometimes during meetings to convey a strong message.

All cultures use stories. We are naturally hardwired, so it seems, to understand stuff through a narrative. It may be the best way ever invented by humankind to transfer implicit knowledge.

The Pixar story style is one vehicle to lay down a story. It uses a structure we can infuse with action, drama, suspense and humor. It goes like this (one of Pixar 22 rules):

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

I suggest you try this now for yourself. For something happening you need to share.

Katina, the impala and the tree

Katina, the impala and the tree, some rights reserved

One of my own I wrote while walking around Maputo for my older princess as an example:

Once upon a time there was an impala. Every day, she would jump over lions and sometimes would hit a tree, she found out trees are hard. One day, impala asked a giraffe what should she do to prevent hurting trees (and most of her frontal body). Giraffe said: “Change direction every jump”. Because of that, impala stopped hitting trees. Because of that, more trees survived. Until finally, giraffe had more leaves to feast upon.

Dan Pink has written a great book on this and other topics (clarity is a must) around selling ideas – a critical skill nowadays.

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2 Responses to “Storytelling – Once upon a time”

  1. one more story – in Denmark | ITIL Blues Says:

    […] [for more on how to use the Pixar story pitch look here] […]

  2. Drawing Stories for a Change (or two) | ITIL Blues Says:

    […] been writing and talking about Storytelling applied to service management. And drawing stories […]

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