Michael Wesch, associate professor of cultural anthropology, Kansas State University; US professor of the year 2008; and National Geographic emerging explorer 2009, Kansas State University

The Missing Link In Business

“At one of the narrative gatherings Peter Guber hosted in 2009, a guest speaker was Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist at Kansas State University and expert on information technology, from indigenous cultures to new media.  It was Wesch who clinched Guber’s suspicion that telling to win is actually the missing link in business.

According to Wesch, telling and listening to stories ignites the regions of the brain that process meaning.  Why is this important?  “Because humans are meaning-seeking creatures.  It’s not just about taking in information. We can’t remember anything without giving meaning to it.”

Welch described the significance of story in a verbal equation: meaning + memory= knowledge-ability.  Meaning, he said, emerges when we make connections between bits of information. Why did we lose $200,000 in the last quarter?  How does the new CEO differ from the last one?  How come we made $12 million more on this product than on that one?  Those sorts of connections are the cargo hidden inside purposeful narratives.  Stories package these connections and, when told, propel them to listeners through state of the heart technology.  The emotional reward of the story makes the connections easy to remember, and every time we do remember, we also experience why the information tucked inside the story matters.  By contrast, what’s the meaning you attach to a list of numbers in a PowerPoint? Zilch!  And that’s why lists of numbers or facts are not memorable. ”  And that’s why lists of numbers or facts are not memorable.  “If you’re going to pass on ideas and influence people, Wesch concluded, “you have to be able to tell a story.”



blog-telltowin-linkTo validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.


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