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99-Word Stories

Presentation for Training Magazine Network
by

Brian Remer

on 26 May 2011

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Transcript of 99-Word Stories

Got an
Important
Message? ! Be... Grab Attention Simple Memorable Efficient But sometimes we should use the cracks more: to sift the insignificant things out of our lives and relationships. The Trivial Things One time I was reprimanded for leaving the meeting room at work in disarray. It was true I’d neglected to clean up the coffee cups, but the criticism seemed a bit over the top.

Later that day I was sweeping the deck at home. The best technique was to let the dirt, dust, and dead bugs drop through the spaces between the wooden floorboards.

Usually “falling through the cracks” means someone got hurt. The system didn’t work. At retirement, he moved with his wife to their northern Minnesota lake home where Mitchell spent his days fishing and, literally, losing his mind. He became listless, irritable, forgetful. Dementia set in. When he took a part-time job selling cars, his usual alert, vibrant self returned immediately. Tired of Retirement For years, Mitchell had a successful business selling shoes in our small town. He had a reputation for personable service and quality products. He thrived on the regular contact with all types of customers as well as business and community leaders. If you’ve got a purpose, you’ve got life. Be
Believable Jump
Start Be
Tangible Invoke
Emotion Talk
Story Be
Brief Finish
Strong Effective
Writing Jump
Start Be
Believable Be
Tangible Invoke
Emotion Talk
Story Be
Brief Finish
Strong Lively
Uses Learn
More Start Conversations challenge Thinking Learn from
"Randomness" How does this description of leadership fit with your experience? Built to Last The Incan ruins of Peru’s Machu Pichu are famous for their massive stone walls fitted together without mortar. Even after hundreds of years, the blocks are so tight there’s not the slightest gap between them. What’s more, each block has a unique, irregular shape. Some are larger than an SUV! Why build with such irregular stones when clearly any shape could have been fashioned? Because these walls have withstood earthquakes when walls of standardized block have crumbled.

Helping people fit into the place that’s best for them builds a stronger organization than forcing people to conform. Which story is a better example of how people learn? Teaching a Lesson Carol confessed that she didn’t like to cook. She recalled her Home Economics class. She was beating an egg with a fork. The teacher said, “Not so much noise. I don’t want to hear any clicking when you’re beating those eggs!” Now, half a lifetime later, Carol admitted, “That only made me want to do it more. And I always think of that woman whenever I beat eggs!” How would that teacher react if she knew the only thing Carol remembers from her class is having been scolded?

Often, the littlest comments have the biggest impact! When we lived in Ecuador for 2 years, one of my personal goals was to learn Spanish. So I was upset when Giovanni, my tutor, announced that he would be leaving the country to take another job. Learning a second language was traumatic for me and Giovanni was terrific at tailoring lessons to my particular interests and needs. How could I ever hope to find a replacement? Then, while riding a crowded Quito bus, I found the solution. Everyone spoke Spanish. I was surrounded by thousands of teachers!

An expert is not always better than everyday expertise. 100,000 Teachers My wife makes pies. I roll out the crusts. It’s tricky to get a perfectly round, thin circle of dough. Any imperfection in the edge of the ball of dough gets worse under the rolling pin. Every tiny crack, under pressure, gets magnified into a huge gash. My early pie crusts looked like Norwegian fjords! What lesson can this story teach about Parenting, Being Efficient, Communication, or (choose your own topic)? Experience has taught me to cut off the “peninsulas” and patch them over the “chasms” as I go along – before they become too exaggerated.

When the pressure’s off, pay attention to the details so they don’t become big problems later on. Problems, Pressure, Pie! The Firefly Group
brian@thefirefly.org
Full transcript