T&D: Pace Yourself Storytellers

Overkill In the Extreme?

Stories are all the rage. So it seems from the amount of online and publication coverage and comments lately.

Stories can have a purpose – and have a place. And can be misplaced.


A few years ago I worked as a subcontractor for a prime contractor who had a million stories. Or so it seemed. Those of us keeping count eventually lost track.

It seemed he was so enamored and entertained with his own stories that “a story broke out” in every single meeting. And sometimes more often.

In Storytelling – Timing Is Everything 

Sometimes that was fine. But other times some people and sometimes everyone was in a hurry – and wanted to get back to their particular FIRE.

It was EVEN WORSE when we got to the point to where his stories were being recycled. And they were just different enough – to those of us who were good analysts and who had developed our fine sense of BS detection – that the storyteller lost whatever credibility and goodwill that he had with the captive audience – which was bad.

And he lost credibility with the client audience – which was worse. And something he should have seen the evidence – the eyes rolling – as those of us in the meetings clearly saw. But I guess he could not help himself.

If Unsure – Defer

Timing is Everything – in both how you articulate your story and the punchline/ lesson/ key point – and when you tell it.

Pause for effect. And sometimes pause for a later date.

Before you launch into a story – make sure that it is appropriate to the occasion. Both ways. Pace yourself. And sometimes – just give it a rest.

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