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An Analysis of a Storied Approach to Crafting Influential Messages

An Analysis of a Storied Approach to Crafting Influential Messages

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Published by Terrence Gargiulo
An analysis of a recent commencement address is used to provide concrete tips and techniques for employing a storied approach to all aspects of a talk - researching, developing, and delivering.

While I am asked frequently to do keynote addresses, I’m not a huge fan of them. It’s just hard to touch people. Perform, impress, command attention, wield pulpit power and create passive hope for people are opportunities offered by keynoting. I hunger for the intimacy of inciting insights that comes from facilitated storytelling.

How could I hold the attention of a diverse audience? Could I create a fertile space of imagination to offer some tangible gifts to aid them on the next part of their journey? How would I make it be about them? Could I avoid clichés, hype, and platitudes? Would I be able to minimize perfunctory pomp and circumstances perpetuated by this genre of speech? How would I be fun and serious at the same time? Would I have to keep my message super simple with only one or two key take-a-ways or could I tackle a complex set of concepts? And could the whole address be done completely with story forms employing my authentic voice?
An analysis of a recent commencement address is used to provide concrete tips and techniques for employing a storied approach to all aspects of a talk - researching, developing, and delivering.

While I am asked frequently to do keynote addresses, I’m not a huge fan of them. It’s just hard to touch people. Perform, impress, command attention, wield pulpit power and create passive hope for people are opportunities offered by keynoting. I hunger for the intimacy of inciting insights that comes from facilitated storytelling.

How could I hold the attention of a diverse audience? Could I create a fertile space of imagination to offer some tangible gifts to aid them on the next part of their journey? How would I make it be about them? Could I avoid clichés, hype, and platitudes? Would I be able to minimize perfunctory pomp and circumstances perpetuated by this genre of speech? How would I be fun and serious at the same time? Would I have to keep my message super simple with only one or two key take-a-ways or could I tackle a complex set of concepts? And could the whole address be done completely with story forms employing my authentic voice?

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Categories:Business/Law
Published by: Terrence Gargiulo on Jun 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/21/2012

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An
 
Analysis
 
of 
 
a
 
Storied
 
Approach
 
to
 
Crafting
 
Influential
 
Messages
 
Terrence
 
L.
 
Gargiulo,
 
2011
 
Commencement 
 
 Address
 
Santa
 
Catalina
 
School 
 
A
 
Little
 
Background
 
Story
 
for
 
Context…
 
Forty
 
years
 
ago
 
I
 
found
 
myself 
 
at
 
the
 
first
 
of 
 
many
 
interesting
 
educational
 
crossroads.
 
New
 
to
 
Monterey,
 
California
 
my
 
family
 
searched
 
for
 
a
 
school
 
for
 
my
 
sister
 
to
 
attend.
 
After
 
a
 
brief 
 
stint
 
in
 
one
 
of 
 
the
 
public
 
schools
 
my
 
parents
 
enrolled
 
Franca
 
at
 
Santa
 
Catalina
 
School.
 
It
 
was
 
an
 
all
girls
 
school
 
from
 
Pre
Kindergarten
 
(PreK)
 
through
 
high
 
school
 
run
 
by
 
Domincan
 
nuns.
 
Somehow
 
the
 
school
 
decided
 
it
 
would
 
entertain
 
a
 
wild
 
and
 
crazy
 
idea:
 
start
 
boys
 
in
 
the
 
PreK.
 
Maybe
 
they
 
needed
 
revenue,
 
maybe
 
they
 
were
 
curious,
 
I
 
honestly
 
don’t
 
know
 
what
 
precipitated
 
the
 
change.
 
I
 
found
 
myself 
 
invited
 
to
 
be
 
one
 
of 
 
the
 
few,
 
one
 
of 
 
the
 
proud,
 
and
 
one
 
of 
 
the
 
lucky
 
boys
 
invited
 
to
 
partake
 
in
 
this
 
great
 
experiment.
 
Turned
 
out
 
they
 
really
 
liked
 
us
 
boys.
 
Each
 
year
 
they
 
kept
 
deciding
 
to
 
let
 
us
 
stay
 
another
 
year.
 
By
 
the
 
time
 
we
 
got
 
to
 
fourth
 
grade
 
they
 
decided
 
we
 
could
 
stay
 
for
 
good.
 
However,
 
we
 
were
 
to
 
be
 
the
 
first
 
class
 
to
 
graduate
 
from
 
eighth
 
grade.
 
This
 
year,
 
the
 
school
 
asked
 
me
 
to
 
commemorate
 
that
 
decision
 
and
 
honor
 
me
 
by
 
giving
 
the
 
lower
 
school
 
address
 
commencement
 
address.
 
 
The
 
Challenge…
 
While
 
I
 
am
 
asked
 
frequently
 
to
 
do
 
keynote
 
addresses,
 
I’m
 
not
 
a
 
huge
 
fan
 
of 
 
them.
 
It’s
 
 just
 
hard
 
to
 
touch
 
people.
 
Perform,
 
impress,
 
command
 
attention,
 
wield
 
pulpit
 
power
 
and
 
create
 
passive
 
hope
 
for
 
people
 
are
 
opportunities
 
offered
 
by
 
keynoting.
 
I
 
hunger
 
for
 
the
 
intimacy
 
of 
 
inciting
 
insights
 
that
 
comes
 
from
 
facilitated
 
storytelling.
 
As
 
a
 
general
 
rule,
 
I
 
set
 
the
 
value
 
of 
 
keynoting
 
high,
 
ensuring
 
that
 
only
 
the
 
most
 
serious
 
clients
 
engage
 
me
 
in
 
this
 
way.
 
I
 
also
 
almost
 
always
 
insist
 
on
 
being
 
given
 
other
 
opportunities
 
to
 
work
 
with
 
some
 
of 
 
the
 
member
 
of 
 
the
 
audience
 
in
 
a
 
different
 
setting
 
other
 
than
 
the
 
plenary
 
address..
 
The
 
commencement
 
address
 
for
 
Santa
 
Catalina
 
School
 
was
 
for
 
middle
 
school
 
students,
 
parents,
 
teachers
 
and
 
administrators.
 
How
 
could
 
I
 
hold
 
the
 
attention
 
of 
 
a
 
diverse
 
audience?
 
Could
 
I
 
create
 
a
 
fertile
 
space
 
of 
 
imagination
 
to
 
offer
 
some
 
tangible
 
gifts
 
to
 
aid
 
them
 
on
 
the
 
next
 
part
 
of 
 
their
 
 journey?
 
How
 
would
 
I
 
make
 
it
 
be
 
about
 
them?
 
Could
 
I
 
avoid
 
clichés,
 
hype,
 
and
 
platitudes?
 
Would
 
I
 
be
 
able
 
to
 
minimize
 
perfunctory
 
pomp
 
and
 
circumstances
 
perpetuated
 
by
 
this
 
genre
 
of 
 
speech?
 
How
 
would
 
I
 
be
 
fun
 
and
 
serious
 
at
 
the
 
same
 
time?
 
Would
 
I
 
have
 
to
 
keep
 
my
 
message
 
super
 
simple
 
with
 
only
 
one
 
or
 
two
 
key
 
take
a
ways
 
or
 
could
 
I
 
tackle
 
a
 
complex
 
set
 
of 
 
concepts?
 
And
 
could
 
the
 
whole
 
address
 
be
 
done
 
completely
 
with
 
story
 
forms
 
employing
 
my
 
authentic
 
voice?
 
The
 
Approach…
 
Despite
 
my
 
familiarity
 
with
 
the
 
school
 
(my
 
son
 
and
 
daughter
 
attend
 
the
 
school)
 
I
 
wanted
 
to
 
hold
 
the
 
graduating
 
students
 
in
 
my
 
heart.
 
Whether
 
or
 
not
 
my
 
clients
 
realize
 
it
 
or
 
not
 
I
 
probe
 
client
 
engagement
 
requirements
 
and
 
stakeholder
 
perspectives
 
with
 
the
 
natural
 
power
 
of 
 
story.
 
I
 
elicit
 
stories.
 
Call
 
me
 
wedded
 
to
 
my
 
storied
 
ways,
 
but
 
I
 
don’t
 
know
 
any
 
other
 
way
 
to
 
quickly
 
infer
 
patterns
 
in
 
complex
 
systems.
 
This
 
might
 
seem
 
counter
intuitive
 
but
 
when
 
faced
 
with
 
the
 
speed
 
of 
 
business
 
in
 
today’s
 
environment
 
stories
 
are
 
the
 
fastest
 
and
 
most
 
efficient
 
vehicle
 
for
 
analysis
 
and
 
communication.
 
“Storytelling
 
is
 
a
 
safe
 
space
 
 for 
 
creative
 
thinking,
 
negotiating
 
differences,
 
and 
 
establishing
 
commonality.
 
Storytelling
 
empowers
 
the
 
speaker 
 
and 
 
improves
 
communication
 
through
 
speaking
 
and 
 
listening.
 
Stories
 
are
 
the
 
most 
 
efficient 
 
way 
 
of 
 
storing,
 
retrieving,
 
and 
 
conveying
 
information.
 
Since
 
story 
 
hearing
 
requires
 
active
 
 participation
 
on
 
the
 
 part 
 
of 
 
the
 
listener,
 
stories
 
are
 
the
 
most 
 
 profoundly 
 
social 
 
 form
 
of 
 
communication.” 
 
– 
 
http://www.makingstories.net 
 
I
 
had
 
a
 
few
 
data
 
points
 
about
 
the
 
graduating
 
class
 
and
 
other
 
stakeholders.
 
I
 
filled
 
these
 
in
 
with
 
a
 
couple
 
of 
 
informal
 
conversations
 
with
 
teachers,
 
observations
 
of 
 
the
 
students
 
leading
 
up
 
to
 
graduation
 
day
 
and
 
an
 
hour
 
meeting
 
with
 
the
 
principal.
 
Where
 
care
 
is
 
present
 
stories
 
flourish.
 
The
 
shortest
 
distance
 
between
 
two
 
people
 
is
 
a
 
story.
 
Since
 
my
 
children
 
are
 
still
 
in
 
kindergarten
 
and
 
third
 
grade,
 
I
 
did
 
not
 
know
 
the
 
principal
 
of 
 
the
 
middle
 
school
 
well.
 
Stories
 
beget
 
stories.
 
An
 
hour
 
flew
 
by
 
in
 
no
 
time
 
but
 
surfaced
 
a
 
wealth
 
of 
 
 
stories.
 
More
 
importantly
 
without
 
me
 
overtly
 
asking
 
the
 
question,
 
“what
 
gift
 
(ideas)
 
do
 
you
 
want
 
to
 
offer
 
these
 
students
 
to
 
help
 
them
 
succeed?”
 
a
 
clear
 
concentration
 
of 
 
three
 
major
 
themes
 
emerged.
 
These
 
were
 
 judgment,
 
compassion,
 
and
 
mercy.
 
Armed
 
with
 
the
 
gifts
 
and
 
a
 
feel
 
for
 
the
 
students
 
both
 
as
 
individuals
 
and
 
as
 
a
 
class
 
I
 
was
 
equipped
 
to
 
craft
 
my
 
message.
 
The
 
Story
 
Architecture
 
of 
 
the
 
Message…
 
Two
 
days
 
after
 
my
 
meeting
 
with
 
the
 
principal
 
while
 
sitting
 
on
 
the
 
soccer
 
field
 
watching
 
my
 
son’s
 
practice
 
I
 
conceived
 
the
 
following
 
architecture
 
for
 
the
 
talk
 
in
 
my
 
notebook:
 

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