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Telling Tales

Harvard Business Review, May 1, 2004


Leaders with the strength to push past some initial skepticism about the enterprise of storytelling will find that the creative effort pays off.

Knowledge management expert Stephen Denning explains that less is more. If the aim is to motivate people to act when they might not be inclined to do so, it's best to take an approach that's light on detail--particulars can bog down listeners and prevent them from focusing on the message.

Drawing on his experiences at the World Bank and observations made elsewhere, the author provides several dos and don'ts for organizational storytellers, along with examples of narratives that get results.

Denning also presents seven distinct types of stories, the situations in which they should be told, and tips on how to tell them.

Subjects Covered: business

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