Concise Storytelling for Stanford Business Grads

Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) has included storytelling in its curriculum for years. I had learned about it when I met Stanford professor Chip Heath at a conference where we both spoke, and he told me that he used my book, Around the Corporate Campfire: How Great Leaders Use Stories to Inspire Success, in his classes. More recently I’ve learned that the GSB incorporates storytelling instruction in numerous ways, inclduing a class for alums who were preparing to tell their business stories at an upcoming event at the school.

The focus of the class was how to prepare a concise story, which was defined as four minutes or less. In the videotaped course and an accompanying article posted online, J.D. Schramm, Ph.D., a lecturer at GSB, outlines six guidelines for narrowing the focus of a story so that it’s brief. The video is 138 minutes, so you may prefer to read the article. But if you choose to watch the video as well, look for the segment somewhere around the 60-minute mark that features two alums telling stories they’re developing–and getting feedback on how to improve them. It’s very instructive for those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to attend a storytelling class.

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