Up Front Communication

Helping people and businesses through the art of communication

Want to write great stuff? Here’s something to help you get started.

I’ve always loved storytelling.  As a kid, I liked to record improvised “radio plays” on cassette tapes and would take long walks during which I rambled adventures to myself out loud, looking for all the world like the neighbourhood madgirl.  Later, once the glories of the internet opened up to me, I spent hours in online writing communities crafting group-written stories with other enthusiasts.  Even some of my geekier pursuits, like creating a long-lasting Dungeons & Dragons game group, were born out of the desire to have fun felling stories.  A big reason why I love speaking and presenting so much is because it scratches that same itch – I get to tell a good yarn while giving people information that can improve different aspects of their lives.

Freeflowing, creative storytelling play hugely improved my ability to create compelling presentations.  Great presentations always involve storytelling, and having consequence free fun with stories is one of the best ways to stretch and expand your presentation and speaking muscles.

I completely understand that it can be hard to simply dive into creative writing.  That’s the beauty of group-written stories. You get the boost and creative input of other enthusiasts, and when it is overlaid with a game-based structure, you get the additional benefit of a scaffold to help direct your story.  It takes some of the hard work out of writing and lets you play in the mud with the other kids.

Today, a colleague of mine introduced me to the perfect platform for creative, group-based, storytelling play.  I had a look, gave it a go, and was so excited that I couldn’t wait to share it with you.  It’s an online game platform called Storium.  This is a collaborative story game that combines the best of group creativity with light game structure.  I’ve joined it’s Kickstarter campaign and am very, very excited to play in a way that I haven’t done in years.

Once you start telling stories on a regular basis, you will find it easier and easier to tell them on the fly.  Stories are the backbone of great presentations, and the more you tell them the better you’ll be.  Give Storium a go, and let me know what you think!

Do you do play with any other type of storytelling?  Planning on trying Storium? Let me know in the comments below!


If you want to be interesting, you must be interested.

Be interested in everything; be interested in current events, in culture, in daily life.  Be interested in new ways of doing things, in activities you’ve never tried, in subjects you don’t know much about.

Definitely be interested in the people you are talking to.  The more interested you are about them – the more questions you ask them and the more opportunity you give them to tell their story – the more interested they’ll be in you.  They’ll wonder why it is that you are so interested in them, why you are giving them the precious gift of time and attention.  They’ll start to wonder about you, ask you questions in turn, and remember you in greater detail.

The key is to make this interest genuine.  It may seem next to impossible to display real interest in something you find really dull, but usually there is at least a silver thread of fascination in just about any topic. If you find yourself having difficulty finding a subject interesting, drill down into it and find some way that it affects you on a personal level.  If the person you are talking to is desperately boring, ask them questions and then ask more questions for every answer until they reveal some odd or delightful nugget.  The fact that the interesting nugget is unexpected will make it even more interesting.  If you are having trouble finding some glimmer of interest in that person, you either haven’t asked enough questions or you aren’t really listening to them.  We humans are an odd bunch, which means endless opportunity for fascination if you are willing to look hard enough.

Approach just about everything you encounter with open curiosity.  The interest-rebound effect that it has on you is due to the fact that it expands your worldview, increases the breadth of subjects you can converse about, and encourages others to be interested as well.

The added advantage, of course, is that it also makes life a whole lot more fun.