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Four Techniques for Drawing Business Stories Out of Others – Part 5


Artifact tell a story, you just have to piece it together“You know, I’ve shared that article about stories you sent me with other prosecutors in my office.”

It was an attorney friend of mine telling me this.  He’s a deputy chief assistant district attorney here in Georgia.  Here is the article he was referring to this article I found on the power of storytelling.

“I don’t understand why people can’t see the stories.  They’re right there in the reports!”

Regardless of the type of organization, most companies have some sort of reports which leads me to…


Technique # 4 – Organizational Artifacts

There are reports and other documents within organizations that make up stories.  Obviously they’re not collected for the purposes of telling a story.  But if you think about what happened and ask questions where possible, you can find the business stories inside the company artifact.

Often times, these corporate forms have “comment” sections that allow the person completing the form to freely explain their observations.  Read through those written comments.  Look for evidence of something good happening.  Look for times when things went wrong.  Piece together the business story the incident tells and you’re able to pull more business stories out of others.


Examples of Organizational Artifacts

Here are some examples shared with me by instructional designers.

Customer letters

Safety/emergency reports

Customer satisfaction surveys

Employee surveys

Social media feedback

Recordings from 1-800-lines

 Where else in your organization might you find artifacts that create a story from your business?


Create the Story

What was frustrating my attorney friend was that people had the information, but weren’t packaging the information as a story.

Prosecutors commonly recite the facts, but unless they paint a picture of the whole story, they’re going to be less successful in prosecuting the case.  (See the article referred to above.)  So ask yourself as you review the artifacts questions like…

As you look at the safety report, how do you suppose the injured person found themselves at that place at that time?

When the customer survey is glowing about how the staff went out of their way to accommodate the odd request, can you envision what the staff said and did?

As you listen to the recording of the irate customer call, how do you imagine she got to that level of frustration?

If the people are available, interview them to find out the story.  If can’t speak with them, piece together the story that makes sense given the information you have.  Don’t let those opportunities to capture stories get away.  Fully use your artifacts!


That’s the Final Installment for Ways to Pull Stories Out of Others

What have you done that you don’t see here?

Share your wisdom in the comments or contact me directly at 770-597-1108 or Kelly.Vandever @ SpeakingPractically . com.

I’d love to learn from you!!