Appropriately, I’ll start with a story.
When I moved out to Boston a few years ago, I got plugged into a church plant that hadn’t even begun yet. That time before launch was precious. We were all in this thing together, yet we were strangers to one another. So every time we were together there were always “get to know you” conversations. I had a chat with the pastor’s wife and told her about my background in fiction writing and literature. The next time I saw my pastor, Al, he came up to me and, obviously having heard about my background through his wife, said to me, “You’re a story person. We have to talk.”
Story, storytelling, narrative – they’re all terms I’m familiar with from writing class, but they’re turning into buzzwords applicable to a lot of industries and to our own lives in general. Al and I ended up having a great conversation about story. He talked about the care he was taking to craft the narratives of his sermons. He wanted to tell a story that everyone could enter into. He wanted to create a narrative that impacted people’s lives. And he wanted to include the big themes of story – hope, struggle, redemption, journey – into that narrative. It got me thinking that story is more than just a work of fiction published in a literary journal.
This idea of story and storytelling in business is a rather new thing, gaining traction and recognition, and since I’m in the business world, it’s on my radar. I started looking at all of this last year, and just completed a term paper for a class I’m taking on business and storytelling, titled “Creativity in Business: How Story Connects Brands to People” (see the title of this blog). I’m leading a lunchtime discussion on it today with my co-workers, and will publish what I’ve learned from that paper on this blog in the coming week(s). It’s a cool topic to think about, and I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface.
This is what happens when a fiction writer get into business education!