Make Public Speaking More Fun. Step #1: Paddle Through The Blank Page

This is the first in a series of three pieces on getting your speaking up to speed. Palm trees and hammock-lined sands had become terrifying in seconds. My wade into waist-deep water turned into a torrent that was now pulling me into the crushing waves. Just offshore from my new favorite place in Parque Tayrona,…


Leadership Storytelling Retreat – July 2-7

Last year it was Morocco. We walked the hills and sat for long breakfasts and took the chance to be away from everything in order to truly dive into our collection of stories. We had CEOs, and keynote speakers, entrepreneurs and teachers, writers, filmmakers and activists. Many people have asked me if I ever teach…


Failing is Part of Visioning

  “What’s the gift in this?” I thought, as I sat there. My flight had been delayed, then outright cancelled. Three hours in Long Beach Airport. Then I heard a chirp. Chirp, chirp chirp. Weird. I looked down, and saw a sparrow grabbing a stick in its beak. It flew halfway up to the ceiling,…


Matching Story With Meaning

As you tell your story, a few people in the audience might have a question in their head that they’re not asking. The question is this: “Why are you telling me his?” Maybe they’re just excited to get the upshot. Or maybe they’re impatient, or even skeptical you’re taking them somewhere worth going. Don’t worry.…


Case Study – Enterprise: A Story Told in 1000 Ways

Over more than 30 years, Enterprise Community Partners has touched millions of lives by creating hundreds of thousands of homes – and investing billions of dollars – in communities nationwide. But because of the breadth and depth of Enterprise’s work, the Enterprise Marketing & Communications team sought to develop a clear, concise story of who…


Case Study – Facebook: Capacity Building for Recruiting

Part of Facebook’s mission is to ‘make the world more open and connected.’ And connection comes from the center. In working with Facebook’s University Recruiting, Wakingstar supported their ongoing goal of securing the best talent in the world in a competitive race with other Silicon Valley tech firms. Facebook enlisted us specifically to motivate and…


Case Study – Linked in: A Globally-Distributed Core Story

With nearly 9,000 employees in 30 cities around the world, it’s no easy task for LinkedIn to sustain a vibrant culture. And yet that’s just what they set out to do when they created InDay: one day, every month, a day when employees can act to transform themselves, their teams and their community. Wakingstar was…


Case Study – Hawaii State Dept. of Health: Statewide Story Training

Business Challenge: Leaders at the Department of Public Health/Injury Prevention division in Hawaii were having a hard time talking about injury prevention without getting stuck in big problems – or swamped in data. Whether it was talking about drowning prevention, traffic safety, or suicide prevention, they needed a way to deliver their messages and connect…


One Small (Lifelong) Lesson My Mom Taught Me

My mind was being blown. I was 23, graduated college, sold my first business, and had dedicated myself to traveling for as long as I could. New languages, new places, new people; every day seemed to be a new revelation. On a short stint home after returning home from Southeast Asia, I was staying with…


Thoughts on the Shape of Stories

You may not have climbed K2 yesterday, or sold your company, or cured malaria. But well-told, your experiences make an impact on your audience. “The shape of the stories are what matters, and not their origins,” said Kurt Vonnegut in a lecture at Wittenberg University in 1982.   Drawing on the chalkboard, he wrote GF for…