Storytelling at Work
July 13, 2018
When Your Enemy Becomes Human

Inspiring story, well-told by a woman with a powerful message for us all.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:48 AM | Comments (0)

July 05, 2018
My New Book Now on Amazon!

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I am thrilled to announce that my new book, Storytelling for the Revolution, is now available on Amazon. If you are a fan of storytelling, insight, wisdom, love, choice, humor, learning, breathing, the human condition, or this blog, there is a good chance you will enjoy my book. Right now, only the paperback version is available. In a few days, the Kindle version will also be available. Click below for testimonials...

MitchDitkoff.com
Idea Champions
The book on Amazon

"Mitch Ditkoff knows that the real revolution comes from within and then extends outward to action. He writes with rare wisdom, depth, humor, and insight. Each story he shares has the capacity to inspire the rest of us to action that matters." -- Gail Larsen, Author Transformational Speaking: If You Want to Change the World, Tell a Better Story

"This is a powerful and important book. When we have the courage to tell our stories, we form a bond with each other that no one can defeat or overwhelm. Mitch Ditkoff makes an indisputable case for the essential role of storytelling to create change." -- Susan Page, Director, San Miguel Writers Conference and Literary Festival

"What I love about Storytelling for the Revolution is the compelling way it liberates humanity's biggest untapped resource -- our collective wisdom lurking just beneath the surface of our lives." -- Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times #1 best selling author of Triggers

"Mitch taps into the deep well of our collective wisdom and reclaims the collective narrative for the greater good. Storytelling for the Revolution is a rallying cry for people to recognize their deep meaningful connections with others and reminds us that we are not alone. It is a groundbreaking work in its simplicity and profundity. An important, seminal work for our age." -- Michael Frick, CEO, Speaking.com

"Mitch Ditkoff's stories are beautiful and a huge encouragement for the rest of us to share our own stories with each other. This is what's needed these days -- the authentic sharing of what we know to be true, based on our own life experiences and inner wisdom. Not fake news. Real news -- the news of the heart." -- Cassandra Wilson, Grammy Award Winning Jazz and Blues Singer

"Today, I read the first six of the 40 stories in Mitch Ditkoff's Storytelling for the Revolution. Immediately, I felt my heart replace my mind and called out to my new wife that we had something delightful to read together in bed tonight. Big thanks to Mitch for helping me shift gears in the 80th year of my life. Anyone who can quiet themselves enough to pay attention to their own inner wisdom will find great value in this groundbreaking book." -- Tim Gallwey, Author of Inner Game of Tennis and the Inner Game of Work

"Through Mitch Ditkoff's master storytelling we are welcomed under a big tent called humanity with stories that whisper truths, uniting and celebrating us all. His stories rumble deep from within, where cleverness meets humility and tragedy dances with angels. Mitch's stories inspire reflection while the field guide provides the step-by-step guidance needed for readers to mobilize the storyteller within and lead their own personal revolution." -- Doug Stuke, Director, Sales Excellence, The Hartford Insurance Group

"Mitch's stories have the power take us deeper into our own selves, encouraging us to pay closer attention to every aspect of our lives. Storytelling for the Revolution is an inspirational work to say the least. It is a book that has no timeline and will be here forever, changing lives, page by page." -- Sharon Jeffers, Author of Love and Destiny, Discover the Secret Language of Relationships

"Storytelling, like music, is a universal language that evokes shared emotions and connects us to each other. In Mitch Ditkoff's second book of stories, Storytelling for the Revolution, he deftly weaves tales that give vivid insight into our hearts and emotions, helping us interpret and understand our own lives in a very personal way. This book of stories, meditations of the human soul, will positively transform your life." -- Geri Presti, CEO and President, The Cleveland Music Settlement

"Stories are all about gathering personal and collective experience and knowledge. They gain meaning when the storyteller communicates with verve and creativity. In Storytelling for the Revolution, Mitch Ditkoff beautifully fulfills this promise and offers precise prompts for accessing the wisdom tucked inside the tale". -- David Gonzalez, Award winning storyteller, poet, and arts advocate

"I loved this book and will be sharing it with sacred activists around the world. I especially loved the way the author made the connection between revolution and revelation. Highly enjoyable." -- Kurt Krueger, President, Success Systems International

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:22 AM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2018
Telling Stories that Create Monumental Change

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Here's a refreshing, 36-minute podcast/interview on the power of storytelling to spark big, positive changes. Especially relevant to business people engaged in Six Sigma or Lean Six Sigma projects. The interviewers are Elisabeth Swan and Tracey Roarke -- two movers and shakers in the world of LeanSixSigma.

Idea Champions
MitchDitkoff.com
Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:06 AM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2018
Paul McCartney's Carpool Karaoke

Stories can be told in many ways. I love the way Paul McCartney tells the story of his past with visits to his old haunts, conversation, music, and performance. This is a pearl. And James Corden is masterful in the role he plays in all of this.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:55 AM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2018
We Are All Storytellers



Storytelling at Work
Creating the Innovation Mindset via Storytelling

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:34 AM | Comments (0)

June 01, 2018
The Three Daughters

Some stories deliver their message by what's NOT said...

Thanks to Ron Brent for the heads up

MitchDitkoff.com
Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 28, 2018
NEW PODCAST: The Stories We Tell and Their Impact

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Click here for Mitch Ditkoff's 5/25 appearance on VoiceAmerica -- Wanda Wallace's Out of the Comfort Zone interview. All about the power of storytelling.

Storytelling at Work
Storytelling for the Revolution
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2018
THE AUTHOR OF THIS BLOG, on Radio: Fri, May 25th, 2:00 pm ET

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Idea Champions' co-Founder, Mitch Ditkoff, will be interviewed, live, on May 25th, 2:00 pm, EST on Wanda Wallace's VoiceAmerica radio show. Topic? The power of storytelling. Click here to tune in on May 25th. If you miss it, a podcast will be available.

Mitch Ditkoff
Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2018
One More Really Big Reason to Read Stories to Children

Excellent article from Psychology Today on why it's good to read stories to children.

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MitchDitkoff.com

Storytelling at Work
Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:37 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2018
How to Tell a Story

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New York Times on How to Tell a Story. Nice and simple. Three key points. Worth the read. But the real question is this -- regardless of how the New York Times makes its case. When are YOU going to start telling your stories? And I'm not talking about anecdotes, snippets, and drive-by blurting. I'm talking about real stories, from your own life, with a beginning, middle, and end, an obstacle, a resolution, lots of juicy details, and some memorable meaning. You have a ton of these stories inside you. I know you do. Now's the time to let them out of the cage of your memory and share them with the world -- or, if not "the world", then at least a friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor.

Storytelling at Work
Storytelling for the Revolution
These two rabbis walk into a bar

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2018
Why Stories Matter

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Here's a super simple way to better understand why stories matter -- 15 brief videos on the topic from the mind and heart of Mitch Ditkoff.

MitchDitkoff.com
Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2018
Why Leaders Should Tell Stories

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Here's why. Insightful article from Forbes Magazine

Storytelling at Work
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling and the Innovation Mindset

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:29 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2018
Good Leaders Tell Stories That Help People Trust Them with Power

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Are you a leader trying gain the trust of the people you lead? While there are many ways to approach this bold challenge, one of the simplest and most effective ways is storytelling. Abraham Lincoln was a master of the craft and, indeed, many historians claim this is what enabled him to distinguish himself from others aspiring to be President of the United States at the time. Read about it here. Plus more.

Idea Champions
Mastering storytelling in the workplace
Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:58 PM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2018
The Future of Storytelling Summit

FOST website

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:40 AM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2018
Demystifying Charisma

MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2018
Micro-Learning for Storytellers

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Time-crunched as you are, I know you don't even have two-minutes to read this. So thanks for your 119 seconds.

I'm not going to sell you on the power of storytelling. You already know it's powerful. What you don't know is how to make it real in your organization. I know how to do that. That's what my Micro-Learning for Storytellers service is about. And all it takes is 15 minutes a week.

What you will get is 52 weeks of my content (i.e. videos, podcasts, stories, and articles) to distribute to your workforce one bite-sized piece of wisdom at a time. Mind openers. Thought starters. Tips. Tools. Techniques. Guidelines. And just enough inspiration for people to make the effort they need to become storytelling masters on the job. Or in the class. Or wherever.

WHO AM I?: Mitch Ditkoff, President of Idea Champions, author of the award-winning Storytelling at Work and the forthcoming Storytelling for the Revolution. My clients.

Intrigued? Email me today with the word STORYTELLING in the subject line: mitch@ideachampions.com and I will get back to you with more details.

Micro-Learning for Innovators
Photo: Sidney Perry, Unsplash

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:55 AM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2018
A Different Way to Close a Sale

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Anyone who owns a business, whether they've been to business school or not, knows one thing: You need customers. No customers, no business. How you get customers, of course, is the question.

In my business, one of the main ways to get business is responding to RFPs -- requests for proposals. Here's how it works: a company hears about you, checks out your website, contacts you, schedules a call, tries to figure out if you're the real deal and, if you pass their sniff test, asks you to submit a proposal.

In the beginning of my career, I would get very excited whenever anyone asked me to submit an RFP. It meant I had a big one on the line, a horse in the race, my hat in the ring, or whatever other metaphor I could conjure up to reinforce my belief that I was actually going to make a living. Like a beanie wearing college freshman, I dove into the proposal writing process with great zeal.

In time, however, responding to RFPs made me cranky. I came to learn that only one in ten proposals would make the grade and that the other nine, which I had so diligently crafted, were merely my response to bogus fishing expeditions from the client. Either they had already decided on their vendor, were testing the waters, wanted to get free insights, or were merely on the hunt for the low cost provider.

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So when MTV Networks called, I was betwixt and between. Do I play the game and spend the better part of my day writing a proposal or do walk my talk and do something different?

Since I'd already done some work for MTV, I decided the time was right to experiment, so I asked myself a question: "How can I radically reduce the time it takes me to write a proposal that gets results?" The answer came quickly -- the TWO WORD proposal. In 200 point type, I wrote the words "TRUST US" with an asterisk after the "S" -- and, at the bottom of the page, in 8 point type, noted our fee. That was it. Two words and a bottom line.

On the day my proposal was due, I walked into the office of MTV's CFO, Jim Shaw. After the ritual chit chat and cup of coffee, he asked me if I had the proposal.

"Yes, I do, Jim. But first let me ask you a question. 'Do you get a lot of proposals?'"

He laughed, pointing to a huge stack on his desk.

"And do you like reading proposals?"

Jim looked at me as if I had asked him to stick forks in his eyes.

"Good!" I said. "Then there's a good chance you will love my proposal. But in order to give it to you, I need to get further away from you."

And with that warning, I began backing away across the room. When I got as far away as possible, I stopped and held my proposal in the air.

Even from across the room, Jim could read my two words: TRUST US! Smiling, he beckoned me forward, took the proposal from my hands, lowered his eyes to the bottom line, and extended his hand.

"You got a deal," he said.

Two words in big bold type and a bottom line. That's all it took. Two minutes. Not two hours.

FOR YOUR REFLECTION: "We have 60,000 thoughts per day," said Deepak Chopra. "Unfortunately, all of them are ones we had the day before." That's how most human beings roll. Creatures of habit, we find a groove and stay in it until it becomes a rut. Then it's so deep, we have a hard time getting out of it, so we decorate our walls with Dilbert cartoons and pictures of our last vacation.

Sometimes, we need to do something different. Will this "something different" work every time? No, it won't. But it will work sometimes. My two-word proposal was the perfect thing for MTV. It wouldn't have been the perfect thing for a new client or the IRS, but for MTV it got the job done.

NOW WHAT? Think of a proposal, pitch, or presentation you need to make in the next few weeks. On one side of a piece of paper, write down all the reasonable things you can do to get the gig. Then, on the flip side, write down all the unreasonable things -- new approaches, new ideas, and new ways to make your case. After you write your first wave of unreasonable approaches, write your second wave. Then pick one of them and go for it. Inspiration for you.

Excerpted from Storytelling at Work.
Idea Champions
Mitch Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:50 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2018
One Stop Shopping for Links on the Art & Science of Storytelling

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If you are interested in the power of storytelling to engage, inspire, and spark the transfer of insight, knowledge, and wisdom you have come to the right place. Below are links to a variety of recent articles of mine and other story-mavens who inspire me on this most important topic.

Awesome quotes on storytelling
Storytelling is the trojan horse of wisdom
How to use storytelling to foster employee engagement

How to spark massive employee engagement in 90 minutes or less
The irresistible power of storytelling as a strategic business tool
Harnessing the power of storytelling
Jean Houston on the urgent need for transformative storytelling
Why your brain likes a good story
What stories will you tell?
How to tell a good story
Why create a culture of storytelling?
Radio interview: Storytelling as a way to change a culture
New storytelling blog
Wisdom circles
My recently published book on storytelling
Why did I write my book on storytelling?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:58 PM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2018
The Library Where You Borrow People (& their stories), Not Books!

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How cool is this! A library where you don't borrow books, but people. Instead of reading a book about a topic you want to know more about, you actually "borrow" a person who has mastery on that topic and the two of you sit down and talk. They share their stories and knowledge. You listen and ask questions. Another great example of the power of personal storytelling. Brilliant!

Photo from Unplash (high quality, free photos)
Storytelling at Work
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2018
Storytelling at Work Podcast

13243667_1006058016179629_5443324524480421443_o.jpg Are you interested in the topic of storytelling -- especially storytelling in the workplace? Got 36 minutes? Breathing? Ever eaten a piece of cheese?

If so, this Innovation Engine podcast hosted by Will Sherlin and featuring yours truly (Mitch Ditkoff) will float your boat.

"The world is not made of atoms. It is made of stories." -- Muriel Rukeyser


MitchDitkoff.com
Storytelling at Work
Storytelling for the Revolution

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2017
What Story Are You Telling?

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Illustration: gapingvoid

The stories I'm telling

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2017
She Cooked a Christmas Meal

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2017
The Man from Croatia

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It was a bone cold night in January, four hours after my wife and kids had gone to bed, and I was sitting alone in my man cave, with nothing but a laptop, i-phone, and the painful recognition that even though I had written five books, created a successful company, and had supported my family for 15 years, I had yet to accomplish a single meaningful thing in my life.

This is a feeling many writers know all too well, the moon howling moment of dread when they recognize that their early promise of genius had either not yet born fruit or the fruit they did manage to pick was rotting in a bowl of an unhungry stranger many miles away -- the kind of feeling, I imagined, that was at least partially responsible for Vincent Van Gogh cutting off his ear, a man who had sold only a single painting his entire life, and to his brother, at that, a man he knew was buying mostly out of pity.

It was at precisely at this moment, too late to be early and too early to be late, that I just happened to glance down at my inbox and noticed an email coming in from someone I did not recognize, a man with very few vowels in his last name.

Clearly, this communication wasn't from a friend of mine. No. This was something from a stranger -- a man, he explained, from Croatia, who had been reading my blog for the past five years and now that he had been diagnosed with a terminal disease and maybe had three or four months left to live, wanted me know that last night's posting had touched him deeply in a way that filled his whole being with gratitude. An oasis the writing was for him, he explained -- a place where he could rest and renew. He was writing to me at this late hour to thank me and request that, no matter what happened in my life, I continue making the effort to write... and that it mattered, at least to him.

I just sat there, stunned, my whole body shaking, tears of joy rolling down my cheeks.

PS: This piece will be included in my forthcoming book, to be published in June -- STORYTELLING FOR THE REVOLUTION. If you are open to helping me get the word out about the book, please send an email to mitch@ideachampions.com

My previous book on storytelling
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:54 AM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2017
How to Leverage the Power of Storytelling in 15 Minutes Per Week

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Once upon a time there was a forward-thinking organization that understood what a powerful culture-building tool storytelling was. THEY GOT IT. But what they didn't get, was the fact that the effort to turn theory into practice was way easier than they imagined.

In honor of the fact that a goldfish's attention span (9 seconds) is one second longer than a human being's (8 seconds), Idea Champions is now offering a bold, new, online, micro-learning curriculum for time-crunched people for who want to leverage the power of storytelling in the workplace. Like YOU, for example.

Fifteen minutes a week is all is will take. Or, if you are caffeinated, ten.

HERE'S HOW IT WORKS

1. You and I have a 15-minute phone conversation about WHY you want to bring more storytelling into the workplace.

2. Based on your needs, I create a customized Leveraging Storytelling in the Workplace curriculum for you -- a landing page of links to 52 engaging articles and videos of mine on the topic.

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3. Each week, for the next year, you forward one link to your team (or whatever part of your workforce is participating in the program.)

4. Participants read/view the link in preparation for a weekly meeting that you or one of your surrogates facilitates. All you need to reserve on your agenda is 10 minutes for the storytelling topic. NOTE: This is micro-learning, not head-banging.

5. You (or your designated meeting moderator) facilitates the storytelling-topic-of-the week conversation. This deepens the learning, ensures accountability, quickens the sharing of best practices, sparks creative thinking, and establishes a robust, intrinsically motivated learning community.

OPTION #1: I send you a simple "Moderator's Guide" that includes powerful, conversation-starting questions for each of the 52 topics in the curriculum. Helps ensure that your weekly storytelling meetings are as effective as possible.

OPTION #2: I participate on your launch call to help you set the context, inspire participation, and answer any questions people might have about the value and purpose of the program.

FEE: $695 for an annual license.

WHO CREATED THIS PROGRAM? Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder of Idea Champions, Author of the award-winning Storytelling at Work and the forthcoming Storytelling for the Revolution. Creator of a wide variety of storytelling workshops, keynotes, and trainings. Innovation Blogger of the Year, two years running. And Master storyteller. His clients.

Interested? email Mitch today: mitch@ideachampions.com

Why Create a Culture of Storytelling in the Workplace
The Power of Storytelling in the Workplace
Great Quotes on the Power of Story

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2017
The Power of Quitting



MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:14 AM | Comments (0)

November 28, 2017
Why Storytelling Is Such a Powerful Way to Communicate

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Here's a three-minute video of me talking about why storytelling is such an effective way of communicating a meaningful message.

MitchDitkoff.com
My HuffPost articles on storytelling
Podcasts, interviews, and videos on storytelling

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2017
The Idiot Savant's Guide to Becoming a Better Storyteller

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Click here to listen (and view) my November 22nd webinar on storytelling in the workplace. Entertaining, mind opening, and practical. Hosted by the good people at PatSnap.

If you are interested in learning why and how storytelling is the ideal way to increase employee engagement, build community, transmit tacit knowlege, and spark a mindset of innovation, this will be a very good use of 48 minutes.

"He that tells the stories, rules the world." (Hopi Indian saying)

Microlearning for aspiring innovators
More goodies on storytelling
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2017
Tuning Into the Ancient Story of Indigenous Wisdom

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Here's a wonderfully, innovative project happening in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico -- a groundbreaking event being planned for the coming summer that celebrates the indigenous wisdom of the Americas. Click here for the just launched GoFundMe campaign by the Founder of the project, Evelyne Pouget. During the next nine months, the Heart of Innovation will post periodic updates about this most inspired event, including excerpts of interviews with tribal elders, Concheros dancers, project coordinators, and children.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:28 PM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2017
The Most Powerful Person in the World is the Storyteller

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"The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the values, mission, and agenda of an entire generation that is yet to come." -- Steve Jobs

While this may seem just a bit exaggerated, there is something very TRUE about what Jobs was on to. The Hopi Indians said the same thing: "He who tells the stories rules the world."

This goes far beyond the Creation myth and "Once upon a time." This is about the way we perceive, conceive, and construct reality -- then share that construction with others in a way that is immediately grasped.

What is YOUR story these days? What story are YOU telling -- to yourself and to the world? We are, methinks, as a species, in the difficult time BETWEEN stories. The old story is dying and a new one is being born. Like any birth, the experience is both ecstatic and painful. Me? I am toggling back and forth between these two poles -- not the POLITICAL polls, but the far edges of the two narratives that rule my life.

Here's what I invite you to do in the next 24 hours. The next time someone approaches you with the DOOM and GLOOM story, after listening with compassion, see if there is ANOTHER story that will emerge from either of you -- a story of possibility... a story of awakening... a story of courage... or resilience... or breakthrough... or whatever you feel guided to say.

Stories are like water. We can drown in them or they can give us life. Choose life. Drink deep. And share your water with anyone you cross paths with who is even just a little bit thirsty.

Transformational stories from the world of work
Storytelling as a way to spark innovation
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:01 PM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2017
Garrison Keillor on Storytelling

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From the Maestro himself
A Prarie Home Companion

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 09, 2017
We Need New Fairy Stories and Folks Tales to Guide Us Out of Today's Dark Woods

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Here is a wonderful piece, by Andrew Simms, from the Daily Guardian, about the need for a new wave of folk tales and fairy stories. The times sure are grim. Are you the next Grimm? Got a modern-day story to tell that speaks to the lessons we need to learn these days?

Here are some of mine
And the new collection to be published in June

Illustration from a Brothers Grimm Snow White fairy tale, circa 1900

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:06 PM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2017
The Yummy Relationship Between Storytelling & Lean Six Sigma

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These two Lean Six Sigma practitioners walk into a bar. Wait... no... I mean three Lean Six Sigma practitioners walk into a bar. The first is wearing pink tights. The second is mumbling something about a fishbone diagram. The third is just back from a 10-day vacation in Croatia. Now that I have your attention, click here for a rousing 60-minute webinar on the relationship between storytelling, innovation, and Lean Six Sigma. The interviewer? The fabulous Elisabeth Swan, Managing Partner of GoLeanSixSigma. The interviewee? Mitch Ditkoff, President of Idea Champions and author of Storytelling at Work. Enjoy!

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2017
The Art of Using Story as a Way to Communicate Big, Hairy Ideas

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A priest, a penguin, and a newspaper reporter walk into a bar. The penguin orders a shot of Red Eye. The priest starts juggling three flaming chain saws. The newspaper reporter turns to the bartender, smiles and says: "I know there's a story here somewhere."

And yes, there is. There are stories everywhere. As the poet, Muriel Ruykeser once said, "The world is not made of atoms. The world is made of stories."

Almost everyone in business these days -- at least the people responsible for selling big, hairy ideas -- knows that the difference between success and failure often depends on what kind of story is told -- and how well. Content may be King. But it is Story that built the kingdom. Or as Steve Jobs once put it, "The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller."

The question, these days, isn't whether or not storytelling works. It does. It's worked for thousands of years. If you have any doubt, just ask your local neuroscientist. The question is how do you tell a really effective story -- one that not only informs and entertains, but gets results -- the kind of results that opens minds, influences behavior, and is remembered.

And this is precisely where the proverbial plot thickens. Why? Because most people don't think they know how to tell good story. At least, that's the story they keep telling themselves -- that they don't have the chops or experience to tell a good story. Spoiler alert! Not true.

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Social scientists tell us that 65% of our conversations boil down to story -- narrative accounts with a beginning, middle, and end. Throw in a likable hero, a setting, some obstacles, a few juicy details, plot twists, and a resolution, and voila, you've got yourself a story!

Simply put, storytelling is "an unconscious competency" -- something human beings naturally do. The thing is -- we don't know how we do it. Like breathing, for example. Or thinking. Or riding a bicycle. But just because we can't explain how we do it, doesn't mean we're not good at it. Kapish?

You already know how to tell a story. You do. You've been telling stories ever since you were a child. In fact, you tell stories many times a day. On the job. Off the job. Hanging out with your friends. Wherever. Story is in your DNA. Indeed, neuroscientists like to say that the human brain is "wired for story." It's how we make sense of our lives. It's our communication default position. We are storytelling animals. And the more we practice, the better we get.

The simplest explanation of what story is? A narrative -- an account of what happened or what might happen. That account, of course, can be utterly boring ("I woke up. I picked up my dry cleaning. I returned home.") Or it can be utterly captivating -- what every movie you've ever seen or novel you've ever read has tried to accomplish. To capture your attention. To deliver a meaningful message. And to influence what you think, feel, and do.

For the moment, think of storytelling as a big, yummy pot of soup. It smells good. It looks good. And it tastes good. But at first glance, you can't tell what the ingredients are -- or the spices. Do you really need to know every single ingredient if you're being served a bowl of soup from a reliable source? Probably not. But if you're making the soup, you most definitely do. So let's sit down with our penguin, priest, and newspaper reporter for a few minutes and see if we can demystify what this whole mumbo gumbo story thing is all about.

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First things first. If you want your story to pack a wallop, you've got to know your audience. If they're allergic to eggplant, don't put eggplant in the soup. If they're vegetarian, lose the chicken. And know your end game -- what it is you're attempting to communicate -- what you want your audience to think, feel, or do differently after listening to you. Whatever message you want to leave them with, be able to boil it down to 10 words or less.

Years ago, this would have been known as your "elevator speech". These days, if you can't deliver your message upon entering an elevator, you're screwed. Think about it. When Steve Jobs launched the iPod, he cut to the chase by distilling his message down to just five words: "1,000 songs in your pocket." That's what the iPod was. Technobabble? No. Overwhelming factoids and data? No. One clean soundbyte surrounded by a compelling beginning, middle, and end. When you think about the story you want to tell, be sure you can distill it down to a memorable meme -- what screenwriters do when they pitch their idea to a movie studio.

Just like the iPod has a shape, so does a story -- the beginning, the middle, and the end, as I've said before, but I'm saying again because I want you to remember just how important structure. It's the spine of your intended result.

The beginning is where you set things up -- the place where you hook the attention of your audience, the place where you set the scene and introduce your hero -- hopefully a likable one. Then you introduce the Big Bad Wolf -- the obstacle, the conflict that begets the drama -- which, in your case, if you are trying to sell a product or service -- might be the competition, a government regulation, or the cost of entering a new market. Get the picture? Someone or something exists and that someone or something wants to move forward towards an inspired goal, but his/her/its path is blocked. Time for nail biting and some popcorn. Hooray for adversity! Without it, there is no story. No Star Wars. No Rocky. No Three Little Pigs.

And the broth of the great story soup you are concocting? What might that be? Passion! Your passion. Your passion for the message you're communicating and your passion for the act of storytelling itself. No passion, no power. No passion, no presence. No passion, no purchase order. It's that simple.

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Bottom line, story is all about "emotional transportation" -- the journey you take people on from here to there, from known to unknown, from no can do to what's the next step?"

No matter how logical, linear, or analytical your audience might be, unless you can speak to their heart, you will never win their mind. Yes, of course, if you are making a business presentation, you will need to spice up your story with the fruits of your research, but only enough to keep the story moving, only enough to soothe the savage beast of the left brain. Data is the spice. It is not the main ingredient. If your audience isn't feeling what your saying, it doesn't matter how many statistics you throw their way. As Einstein said, "Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted, counts."

It's Little Red Riding Hood on her way to Grandma's house we care about, not her shoe size or SAT scores.

Other things to be mindful of as your prepare your presentation? Keep your stories short. Speak in the language of the people, not the technologists. No one wants to hear an epic poem. What you're trying to do by telling a story is create an opening to drive the Mack truck of possibility through and maybe pick up a few hitchhikers along the way. You are building a bridge, not a shopping mall.

Lose the complicated back story. "The world doesn't want to hear about your labor pains, they want to see the baby," said Johnny Sain, an American right-handed pitcher for the Boston Braves, born in 1917, who was the runner up for the National League's Most Valuable Player Award in 1948 after leading the league in wins and compiling a lifetime ERA of 3.49 -- the last pitcher to face Babe Ruth). See what I mean? Your team may have put a lot of effort into the project. Months of work. That's great. That's nice. Show us the baby!

And please don't read from your PowerPoint slides. Not only is that boring, it's rude. Borderline, inhuman. There's no way in the world you can build rapport and "read the room" if you are staring at a screen. If you want your audience to look into the future, you've got to look into their eyes, not one boring slide after another.

Here's something to think about: If you really want to get the attention of your audience, "violate expectations." Like what Bill Gates did when, in the middle of a keynote presentation on malaria, he released a bunch of mosquitoes into the room. Talk about buzz! At the very least, infuse your presentation with some visual buzz -- analogies and metaphors that paint a picture for your listeners -- something they can see, not just hear about.

And when you want to crank things up, ask a compelling question or two. Then pause... and listen to the response. The more you listen, the more your audience will listen. Know that a good story is also a good performance. So, unhinge yourself from the dead zone -- the spot on the floor to which you have nailed both of your feet. Move around the room. Vary the lengths of your sentences and the volume of your voice. Gesture. Make facial expressions. Speak to one specific person at a time, not the generic "audience." But above all, trust yourself. If you don't trust yourself, no one else will.

Of course, you can only trust yourself, if you are prepared. So practice your ass off. Know your talking points. Write out a script. Understand the flow of what you want to say, the key milestones along the way and whatever anecdotes and facts you want to include. Then distill the whole thing down to few main points on note cards. Get the story in your bones. Then throw your note cards away. Or, if you absolutely need to hold onto your note cards, glance at them only occasionally. Otherwise, they will become a rectangular 3x5 PowerPoint show in your hand, yet another slow leak in the bucket of your storytelling brilliance.

Remember, there is no formula for telling a good story. Only guidelines. And there is no one right way to tell a story. There are thousands. Maybe millions. Or billions -- each one according to the style and personality of the teller. Your job is not to tell a story like Steve Jobs or Garrison Keillor or Winston Churchill. Your job is tell a story like YOU! And while it is perfectly fine (and often, useful) to read books on storytelling, study TED videos, and attend cool workshops, in the end, all you need to know is this...

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You are sitting around the tribal fire with the elders. They want to hear from you. You've been on a big adventure for days, weeks, or even months. You've got important news to share with them, vital insights to reveal, memorable experiences to convey. The survival of the tribe depends it. You're not trying to get promoted. You're not worried about being cast out of the tribe. The only thing that matters is telling your story in a way that informs, inspires, and enlightens.

End of story.

Penguin Photo: Ira Meyer
Storytelling at Work
The Storytelling Workshop
Spark the innovation mindset with story
60 minute radio interview on storytelling at work

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2017
16 Brief Videos on Storytelling

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Click here 16 brief videos of Mitch Ditkoff talking about the power of storytelling (and sharing some of his own "moment of truth" stories in the workplace).

These brief videos are part of an exciting new presentation platform called "GlowDec".

PS: What story will YOU tell today -- a story that will inspire, spark reflection, or transmit insight or wisdom to another?

Idea Champions
Excerpted from this book
Podcasts, videos, and interviews

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2017
Storytelling Is a Powerful Way to Transmit Tacit Knowlege

My book on storytelling
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 03:00 PM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2017
Jean's Wine Cellar

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It all began in Paris. That's where Mr. Boulet, the wine merchant, would knock at the front door and sit with Evelyne's father, Jean, once a month and talk about all things oenophilic -- the uncorking, the flavor bouquet, and the best buys of the season being just a few of them. Mr. Boulet, a rather large man with shiny black shoes, would pass his knowledge on to Jean, one sip at a time, and then, just before dinner, with great respect and a joke or two, make his best attempt to sell, he too having a family to support. Evelyne, only seven at the time, watched from across the room, her mother in the kitchen or, if someone's button had fallen off that day, sewing nearby.

When Evelyne turned ten, her father, having just been promoted, moved the whole kit and kaboodle to Strassbourg, 397 kilometers away from Mr. Boulet, but fortunately, deep in the heart of Alsace, the region, some Alsacians like to say, that's the birthplace of France's finest wines. For the entire time Jean lived in Strassbourg, he never bought a single bottle from a store. Not once. He couldn't. He wouldn't. Only from a vineyard would he buy, needing to be close to the source.

Wine, always better than the weather in Alsace, was much more than a hobby for Jean. It was, a kind of layman's sacrament -- an alchemical blend with a nose, the fruit of God's green earth and his own unquenchable effort to master something wonderful in this world.

In 1965, Jean Charles Pouget built his first and only wine cellar. That's when he moved the family West to the village of Courcelles-Chaussy. Once a year, in August, he would drive the 14 hours to his mother's farm in Aveyron, his wife in the front seat, his daughters in the back, and there, on that farm, they would stay for 30 days and nights. Evelyne and Joelle lived in the attic with their three cousins, jumping from bed to bed and taking turns looking out the only window to the fields below. Sometimes they would see their grandmother twist a chicken's neck until it moved no more. Sometimes they would see her, barehanded, pull nettles from the ground.

At the end of the month, on his way back home, Jean would stop once or twice at selected vineyards and buy a case of the best wine he could afford. Later that night, he'd carry both his girls from the car to their beds, then the wine to the cellar. Bergarac was always positioned top left, Gaillac below it. Cotes du Rhone was in the middle, Bourgueil and Gris de Tohl always on the right, each shelf marked with a small paper label in his own script -- the only handwriting that remains of this man today.

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Sometimes, Jean would invite Evelyne into the cellar to help him turn the bottles so no sediment would form. A few feet behind him was a hutch, it's hard-to-open drawers now filled with corks. On the highest shelf is a large jar of dried mushrooms, one Evelyne's mama can no longer remember. In the middle of the room sits an old tree stump -- the place where Jean sawed wood in winter to carry upstairs and feed the fire -- sitting as he did with Henriette, and sometimes, his daughters, sipping wine from that night's selection. You can still see the groove in the tree stump from all his many cuts.

More of my stories
MitchDitkoff.com
Unspoken Word

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 01:56 AM | Comments (0)

July 06, 2017
What Have You Accomplished?

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As I gear up to enter the next decade of my life, I find myself at a curious crossroads -- the intersection of WHO and WHAT, one of those strange intersections far out of town where the sagebrush rolls and the GPS signal is just out of range. Sitting in the front seat of my leased 2015 Honda, wondering how I gained the last five pounds, I ask myself a question highly unlikely to make me the life of the party: "Have I done anything of significance these past 69 years?

It's an age-old dilemma, methinks, a classic rite-of-passage -- the time when a man takes stock of himself and realizes his so called "portfolio" of accomplishments doesn't necessarily measure up to what he imagined it would one day be. And though I have always felt a breathtaking magnificence inside me, OUTWARDLY much of what I have expressed, in this life, seems to have been lost in translation -- not unlike a child's game of "telephone" where you whisper something to the person next to you and they, in turn, whisper it to the person next to them and so on and so forth around the circle until the last person blurts what they've heard -- a jumble of words not even remotely close to what it was the started the whole game.

A few months shy of 70, focused more, today, on the butterflies in my tummy than the ones that herald spring, I find myself looking in two directions at once. One is forward, trying to make out what I see with the time I have left. The other is backwards, trying to make sense of the forces that have brought me to this precise moment in time.

What I see, behind me, is my father coming home from a long day's work. He's exhausted, unsettled, my mother greeting him with a martini and the officiousness of a 50's housewife, me tentatively approaching, receiving a quick hug and the all-too-familiar question my father routinely greeted me with: "What have you ACCOMPLISHED today?" -- a kind of Zen Cohen that always left me feeling I hadn't done enough. Yes, I played roofball and punchball and kickball and stickball. And yes, I played with my dog and read the backs of my baseball cards. But did I accomplish anything? Did I do anything that really mattered?

The older I got, the more my father's accomplishment mantra embedded its way into my psyche, a kind of microscopic parasite a person might pick up on a quick trip to a third world country. And though I couldn't see it, I could FEEL it -- radiating outwards, driving me to DO, DO, DO -- moving me to create something I considered "significant" -- something meaningful enough I could sign my name to once and for all.

My friends, I think it is time for me (and maybe, you) to answer the question my father used to ask. Ready? IT'S THE WRONG QUESTION. While the intention may be harmless, the act of being ruled by it is not. "The foolish man is always doing," said Lao Tzu, "yet much remains to be done. The wise man does nothing, yet nothing remains undone."

Kapish? In the end, there is nothing to do! Nothing to prove! Zero. Nada. Zilch. Unless we can live fully in this present moment where everything is already perfect, our life will never be more than a programmed/neurotic/obsessive attempt to achieve -- a carrot dangled in front of us by the collective hallucination that we have never really done enough.

Guess what? We have.

Face it. There is absolutely nothing we can do that will ever be enough compared to the outcome we IMAGINE it should be. Maybe that's why Van Gogh cut off his ear. Maybe that's why countless creative souls drink too much and think too much. You see, the obsession with proving our worth is a losing game. First of all, the self does not need to be proven. It is ALREADY complete just the way it is. And second of all, there is no second of all.

THIS is the moment. THIS. NOW. HERE. Just the way it is.

In the end, WHAT we do is way less important than HOW we do it. When that recognition dawns, joy replaces struggle, gratitude replaces complaint, and everything comes to us in its own, sweet time...

MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:31 AM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2017
The Afghani Cab Driver and the $250M Dollar Salty Snack Food

The story in the Huffington Post
13 of my video stories on GlowDec
Podcast, interviews, and storytelling links
Who I am in the marketplace

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2017
The Wisdom Circles of San Miguel

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Going to be in San Miguel de Allende this summer -- especially July 20th and August 15th? Good. Then come to either or both of my Wisdom Circles -- transformational storytelling for people who know that great wisdom abides in the heart and soul of everyone. Click here for the details.

My book on storytelling

My website
Unspoken Word

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2017
The Power of Story

A lot of insight, wisdom, and thoughtfulness in this presentation. A good primer for anyone wanting to use storytelling wisely in their company (or in the company of others).

MitchDitkoff.com
Silver Medal Winner: Axiom Business Books Awards
Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:12 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2017
The 18th Camel

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A father left 17 camels as an asset for his three sons. When the father passed away, his sons opened up the will. The will of the father stated that the eldest son should receive half of 17 camels while the middle son should receive one third and the youngest son one ninth.

As it was not possible to divide 17 into half or 17 by 3 or 17 by 9, the three sons began to fight with each other. Unable to work out their differences, they soon decided to go to a local wiseman, present their problem, and receive his sage counsel.

The wiseman, after contemplating the seemingly unresolvable conundrum, excused himself, went home, and returned a few minutes later with one of his own camels which he added to the 17. This increased the total number of camels now to 18.

Immediately he began reading the deceased father's will aloud to the three contentious sons. Half of 18 = 9, so he gave the eldest son 9 camels. One-third of 18 = 6, so he gave the middle son 6 camels. One-ninth of 18 = 2, so he gave the youngest son 2 camels.

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The total number of camels (9 + 6 + 2) given to each of the three sons equaled 17, which left one, extra camel. So the wiseman, with a wry smile on his face, took the extra camel (his!) for himself and rode it home, laughing all the way. Problem solved!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Every problem has a solution, even though the solution may not be immediately obvious. The challenge is to find the 18th camel -- the so-called "elegant solution." In order for this to happen we must first let go of the assumption that there IS no solution. There is ALWAYS a solution. Always. It just may not be visible to you in the moment.

What problem of yours do you need to look at from a different angle? What is your 18th camel? And if you can't figure it out by yourself, who can you brainstorm with to arrive at a possible solution?

MitchDitkoff.com
Storytelling as the 18th camel
We teach people how to find their 18th camel

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2017
The Storytelling Animal

Storytelling at Work
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2017
Leadership Storytelling

Steve Denning, formerly of the World Bank, makes a compelling case for why storytelling is such a powerful communication tool in business.

Using storytelling in conferences
Sparking innovation with storytelling
Fostering employee engagement with storytelling

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:10 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2017
The Power of Personal Storytelling in the Workplace

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Want to get a good sense of who I am and what my storytelling work is all about? Click here for 13 brief videos (less than 4 minutes each) of me waxing on about the topic. Half of the videos are me telling on-the-job "moment of truth" stories. The other half is all about the art and science of storytelling. How it works. Why it works.

My book
My storytelling workshop
Why Create a Culture of Storytelling?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2017
The Best Opening to a TED Talk

OK. Andrew Stanton takes the cake for the quickest, boldest, most memorable opening to a TED talk I've ever heard. A play within a play, insofar as uses the shortest form of story -- the joke -- to kick start his 19-minute talk. PS: If you don't like "X-rated" jokes, you may want to skip this one.

MitchDitkoff.com
My book on storytelling (with nary a goat joke)
How to use storytelling to spark innovation

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2017
DON DAVIS: Storyteller Supreme



MitchDitkoff.com

Storytelling at Work

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 07:30 AM | Comments (0)

April 03, 2017
The Dark Side of Storytelling

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All of us tell stories -- whether we speak them aloud or not. Our stories are our handy dandy way of interpreting reality. Often, however, the stories we tell are nothing more than ways to protect ourselves from reality -- our strategy to maintain our sense of self-worth even when "real life" has something else to say to us. In this spot on 11-minute TED talk, Suzanne Duncan, a thought leader in the investment management industry, elaborates on this phenomenon -- and it's downside for anyone in business.

MitchDitkoff.com
Storytelling at Work
A Storytelling Workshop for People in Business

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:53 AM | Comments (0)

The Art of Storytelling According to the Founders of StoryCorps and the Humans of New York

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A three-minute read

MitchDitkoff.com
Storytelling at Work
Creating the Innovation Mindset (workshop)

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2017
Story as a Leadership Tool

Here's a lovely animated intro to why STORYTELLING is such a powerful communication and business tool -- by the author of Circle of the 9 Muses.

Storytelling at Work
More useful links about storytelling
And more

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2017
Share Your REAL Best Practices

mitchditkoff.com
Storytelling at Work

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 06:25 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2017
The Fine Wine of Storytelling

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I have always been a big believer in serendipity -- that magical moment when something "out of the blue" shows up in our lives to amaze and delight us -- an occurrence beyond logic. Well... here is one of them. Last week, I facilitated a three-day conference for Nations Roof, a great organization highly committed to becoming the "Mercedes of Customer of Service" in their industry. A key element of the conference was storytelling -- not just my stories, but the stories of nine of their key movers and shakers -- memorable "moments of truth" on-the-job that revealed big insights, wisdom, and best practices worth sharing.

A few minutes ago, Larry Morgan, Nation's Roof highly committed (and very entertaining) Director of Sales, sent me the above photo. As Larry tells it, a couple of days after the conference, Larry and his wife went to a wine event and there, on the first Pinot table, stood this bottle of wine. Front and center! Ta da! Makes for a good story, no? And one more reminder of how storytelling is everywhere.

Thanks, Larry, for being alert to the clues and taking the time to share this delightful reminder with me.

We Are All Storytellers
Storytelling as a Way to Transmit Tacit Knowledge
13 super short videos of mine on the topic
My award-winning book on storytelling
MitchDitkoff.com

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 11:06 AM | Comments (0)

March 24, 2017
The Power of Storytelling to Deliver Meaningful, Memorable Messages in the Workplace

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Mitch Ditkoff on storytelling in the workplace

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2017
Tell Your Stories

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:31 AM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2017
What Kind of Stories Would People Tell in THIS Universe?

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 04:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2016
STORYTELLING AT WORK goes to college (and it never took an SAT!)

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Good news! My award-winning book, Storytelling at Work, is going to be used, in the Spring, as a textbook for a very innovative Business Communications course at The Sage Colleges in upstate New York.

The idea for this was the brainstorm of Dr. Haidy Brown, who was looking for a different way to introduce her students to the power of personal storytelling. I think Dr. Brown is a genius! The two of us will be meeting, in December, to explore various ways she can use my book as a catalyst for breakthrough in the lives of college students.

If YOU are affiliated with a college and want to explore the possibilities with us, contact me: mitch@ideachampions.com. I have a dream -- that Storytelling at Work will be the "go to" textbook for business communication courses all over the world within the next two years.

My story-centric podcasts, interviews, and articles

My storytelling blog

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 12:26 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2016
CREATING THE INNOVATION MINDSET: A Storytelling Workshop

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All business leaders worth their low-salt lunch, regardless of their industry, will agree on one thing -- that innovation a key driver of their company's success. What they don't agree on is how to ensure that innovation actually happens. Lots of time and resources are invested in sending out surveys, re-engineering processes, inventing new reward systems, and giving pep talks, but all-too-often nothing changes. Why not? Because most business leaders rarely get down to the root cause -- the innovation mindset of their workforce.

Bottom line, organizations don't innovate, people innovate -- inspired, curious, creative, and collaborative people. If you want more innovation, that's the place to focus on.

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After 27 years of providing innovation services to some the world's most forward thinking organizations, Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder of Idea Champions. has discovered the holy grail of moving the "innovation needle". Storytelling. Yes, storytelling -- the skillful communication of personal narratives that change mindset, increase engagement, transfer knowledge, and spark commitment. Archimedes once said that if he had a lever long enough and a fulcrum to place it he could move the world. In the realm of innovation, storytelling is the fulcrum.

TOPICS ADDRESSED IN THE WORKSHOP:

-- Why storytelling is a powerful way to communicate on-the-job
-- How an organization's "old stories" constrain innovation
-- How to use storytelling to make meetings more effective
-- The 20 leading indicators of a corporate innovator
-- Using storytelling to increase employee engagement
-- How storytelling accelerates the sharing of insight and best practices
-- Identifying stories worth telling
-- How to communicate stories that spark innovation
-- The art and science of creating a culture of storytelling
-- Using storytelling to communicate bold, new ideas
-- Creating a new story of your organization's future
-- How to design and facilitate "Story Slams" in the workplace

Storytelling at Work
VoiceAmerica radio interview with Mitch
Storytelling podcasts, interviews, and articles

PHOTO: Jesse Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2016
COMING SOON! The Woodstock Story Festival: April 30 & May 1

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Q. What do Alice B. Toklas, Willie Nelson, and the Woodstock Story Festival have in common?

A. They were all born on April 30th.

Alice was born in 1877. Willie was born in 1933. And the Woodstock Storytelling Festival was born in 2016 -- or should I say will be born in 2016 -- just 33 days from now. It's long awaited birth (April 30th and May 1st) will take place at the Mountainview Studio and you are invited to attend.

No need to bring a gift -- just yourself and your appreciation for the power of story to transform lives.

Billed as a "celebration of story in The Arts, Education, Therapy, Business, Mythology and Medicine", the festival promises to be an extraordinary gathering -- an inspired weekend of storytelling, musical performances, community building, fun, and reflection on our planet's most ancient form of communication.

Presenters come from a wide range of disciplines and include Peter Blum, Goia Timpanelli, Elizabeth Cunningham, David Gonzalez, Mitch Ditkoff, Doug Grunther, Barbara Mainguy, Paul McMahon, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, Richard Schwab, and Shelley Stockwell-Nicholas.

Tickets? $150 for both days or $95 for either Saturday or Sunday. Due to the cozy size of the venue, advanced ticket purchase is encouraged.

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Woodstock Story Festival website

WSF Facebook page

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

March 06, 2016
A Bag of Small Red Berries

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Today, I was sitting in Mesa Grande, the cafe I most love to frequent in San Miguel, when I noticed an old, weathered woman entering the place. Dark skinned, wrinkled, and small, she was moving very slowly across the room, more like shuffling than walking, stopping at each table and attempting to sell whatever it was she was carrying in her gnarled left hand.

Averting my eyes, I felt myself withdrawing, not wanting to encounter yet another beggar of the day needing something else to survive, but she kept coming, pausing now and then to rest.

When she finally made it to my table, all she did was stand. That's it. Stand. She said nothing. She did nothing. She just stood there, holding, in her hand, what appeared to be a bag of small red berries. I continued pretending to be busy, looking down, not wanting to be yet another refusal she would get that day, hoping she would leave, but she did not -- now the still, sudden tribal center of the room.

Unable to ignore her presence any longer, I slowly raised my head, then looked into her eyes. She held my gaze. Like a flower. Like the way a baby, without guile, looks at a stranger. Gently, she shook her bag of berries, explaining without a single word that she was NOT a beggar, simply a seller of small red berries on a Tuesday afternoon. In the distance, I heard the familiar whooshing sound of a cappuccino machine.

"Cuanto?" I asked, holding her gaze.

"Veinte," she replied.

"Veinte?" I asked again, wanting to stay with her for as long as my Spanish would allow.

"Si", she said, "veinte."

"Bueno," I replied, pulling a 20 peso note from my pocket and placing it in her small brown hand. Smiling ever so slightly, she handed me the bag of berries, paused, bowed, and continued on her way.

I checked my email. I made a list. I ate a piece of fruit. Ten minutes later, Carlos, the waiter, walked over to me, saw the bag of berries by the sugar bowl and asked if he could have one.

"Si Carlos", I said, opening the bag so he could choose his favorite.

An hour later, when it was time to pay the bill and figure out the tip, I handed Carlos the bag and asked him to share the contents with his esposa and hijo when he got home that night. A few people came and went. Someone ordered a croissant. But Carlos and I just stood there, grinning, unmoving, a bag of small red berries now the center of our world.

Photo: Jesse Ditkoff

More stories from the author of this blog
Storytelling links for you

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 05:37 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2016
Storytelling Shapes Culture and Humanizes the Workplace

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More goes on in the modern-day workplace than meets the eye. Indeed, it's often the stuff that meets the ear that makes all the difference. Click here to listen to Mitch Ditkoff's 60-minute VoiceAmerica interview on the power of personal storytelling in the workplace.

THE BOOK: Storytelling at Work
THE KEYNOTE: Storytelling at Work
THE BLOG: Storytelling at Work

Photo by Jesse Ditkoff

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 02:13 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2015
David Gonzalez on the Four Main Elements of Storytelling

Big thanks to Peter Blum, Founder of the forthcoming Woodstock Festival of Storytelling, for the heads up.

Idea Champions

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

ABOUT THE BLOG

Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

Order the book:

MitchDitkoff.com
Click here for the simplest, most direct way, to learn more about Idea Champions' semi-fearless leader, Mitch Ditkoff. Info on his keynotes, workshops, conferences, and more.
Storytelling at Work
Storytelling at Work is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling in business – why it matters and what you and your organization can do to leverage the impact of storytelling in the workplace.
Top 5 Speaker
Mitch Ditkoff, the Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions, has recently been voted a top 5 speaker in the field of innovation and creativity by Speakers Platform, a leading speaker's bureau.
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Workshops & Trainings
Highly engaging learning experiences that increase each participant's ability to become a creative force for positive change
Brainstorm Facilitation
High impact certification training that teaches committed change agents how to lead groundbreaking ideation sessions
Cultivating Innovation
Your "best and brightest" are the future leaders of your company, but unless they know how to foster a culture of innovation, their impact will be limited. A one-day workshop with us is all they need to begin this journey.
Our Blog Cabin
Our Heart of Innovation blog is a daily destination for movers and shakers everywhere — gleefully produced by our President, Mitch Ditkoff, voted "best innovation blogger in the world" two years running.
Team Innovation
Innovation is a team sport. Brilliant ideas go nowhere unless your people are aligned, collaborative, and team-oriented. That doesn't happen automatically, however. It takes intention, clarity, selflessness, and a new way of operating.
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Idea Champions University
Webinars for online training If you enjoy our blog, you will love our newly launched webinars! Our training is now accessible online to the whole world.
Awake at the Wheel, Book about big ideas If you're looking for a powerful way to jump start innovation and get your creative juices flowing, Awake at the Wheel is for you. Written by Mitch Ditkoff, Co-Founder and President of Idea Champions.
Face the Music Blues Band The world's first interactive business blues band. A great way to help your workforce go beyond complaint.

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