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Storytelling channels


Disciplines > Storytelling > Storytelling in organizations > Storytelling channels

Company publications | Speeches and presentations | Meetings and gatherings | Face-to-face | Email and phone | Notice-boards and forums | See also


Organizations have many different channels through which stories are 'poured'. Each of these have different

Company publications

Company publications range from internal magazines to external annual reports, any and all of which can be used to tell stories.

Publications often have a wide audience that includes many stakeholder segments. To address each segment may mean either using general stories or having separate sections in the publication that target specific audiences.

Such publications are carefully edited and stories may be tuned to the particular audience and message you want to convey. Thus, for example, a company magazine may tell stories about how good it is to work there, showing pictures of the company picnic and telling individual stories of the fun that was had. A corporate annual report to shareholders may bring the dry material alive by telling stories about how their products have helped individual customers and how employees invented these products.

Speeches and presentations

When senior leaders of the organization make speeches or presentations, they may, for example, include heroic stories or cautionary tales that inspire or warn their audience.

The audience for speeches may vary greatly in size and focus, and the speech should be customized to this end. Senior leaders often employ PR professionals to write their speeches and thus what can appear to be off-the-cuff words may be carefully scripted.

Meetings and gatherings

Meetings and other gatherings allows for interaction, and stories may be elicited as well as told from the front. Thus there is scope here for co-creation of stories.

In meetings, many stories may be told as one person's story triggers a tale from someone else. The level of storytelling in such environments may vary with formality and culture. Some organizations thrive on stories whilst others use meetings for strict business only.

Face-to-face and phone

Interpersonal face-to-face connections are intimate than larger meetings and stories here tend to be more personal.

This is also the preferred medium for gossip and tattle-tale that fuels much social interaction. The more people in a conversation, the less likely that scurrilous stories about 'who said what to who' will be told. In a one-on-one format, however, particularly with trusted friends, all kinds of rumors and suppositions will get aired.

The telephone misses out the body language of communication but is a well-established medium and with the very significant addition of mobility in recent years. You can now go somewhere private to talk about intimate matters and tell those fascinating stories.

Email and chat

Electronic media, so common now, are a frequent channel of communication and so will also be used for distribution of stories.

Email allows for focused distribution lists to used, so I can tell politically-non-correct stories to a group of friends who I know will enjoy the tale and perhaps the daring too.

Text-only communications leaves out the very important body language and voice tone from communication, but 'emoticons' are sometimes used to signal emotion :-)

Notice-boards, blogs and public forums

Stories may also be published to media where there may be little or limited interaction with others. Thus I write stories on the ChangingMinds Blog! and my Thinking Stories page.

Notice boards are where people who are passing tarry for a while and browse what is there, snacking on the words and pictures presented. Electronic boards abound around the web and a traveler may only touch one site once ever, yet the stories there might touch them deeply and forever.

Organizations often provide media for such musings and many executives are encouraged to tell their stories in daily or weekly blogs, thus showing a human face from out of the seemingly-cold corporate world.

See also

Thinking Stories

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