Byron's Babbles

The Long & Short Of Great Stories

We’re all in situations where we have to be able to tell stories. I believe story telling is an important skill for leaders. It’s one reason I have fell in love with reading fiction novels. We can learn from great authors like Amor Towles. I am reading The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles right now and loving it. A quote I wrote in my notes the other day while reading was: “The funny thing about stories is they can be told as long stories or short stories or anything in between.” I thought about this today as I was doing a leadership development gathering in Georgia. A lot of how I facilitate gives the participants an opportunity to reflect and tell stories. Some are short and we long for more, others are long, and many are in between. Not everyone is a natural-born storyteller. That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t run into a ton of different situations where we need to do just that.

I love listening to peoples’ stories. The more animated they get, the more interested I become. Our stories should be anchored in personal experiences and show vulnerability. I also love imagery. Imagery is one of the things I love about Towles’ writing. He is a master at this and I am striving to learn from his work. Right now I am reading about Duchess’ and Woolly’s trip from Nebraska to New York in the Studebaker they “borrowed” from Emmett without his permission. On the trip they are staying in Howard Johnson motels. Remember them? Orange roofs and blue spires. When Towles described the buildings, rooms, the restaurant, and even the food and placemats I was transformed back to my childhood and could see myself there with my parents. I was transformed back to those days gone by. Amazing! Towles knows how to give just the right amount of detail without overwhelming with unnecessary details. Something we all need to hone in our own storytelling. Reading the work of great writers helps us do this.

Good storytelling isn’t about buzz words and fancy language. It’s about conveying our message clearly and simply. We need to connect with our audience as humans. I always try to tell stories as if I was telling the story to my friends sitting around a fire on my back porch. Or, better yet, consider how you would tell the story standing around a water cooler. I guess shorter probably is better, but always remember, every story can be told long, short, or in between – the message is the key.

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  1. One Of A Kind Of Days | Byron's Babbles said, on November 15, 2021 at 5:25 am

    […] great new book The Lincoln Highway. Towles is an incredible storyteller, as I pointed out in The Long & Short Of Great Stories. There are so many points in his books that cause me to think and reflect. I really like the […]

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