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Lessons from Sheherazade: The Art of Storytelling in the Business of Communication

Will Hornyak, communication studies faculty at Marylhurst University, shares a preview of his upcoming TEDx talk. TEDxMarylhurstU will be held February 18, 2016.

“Oh my lord, look out the window! The dawn has come, and the hour of my death approaches. And so I cannot finish my story, which I’m sure you would agree has a most surprising and remarkable conclusion.”
~ Sheherazade in A Thousand and One Arabian Nights

Sheherazade was a legendary storyteller who healed the heart of a mad King and changed the fate of an empire by telling stories. She clothed profound truths in the rich garb of fable and myth and tale. She used the powers of enchantment and beauty to weave fresh ideas into the closed mind and hardened heart of a despot. She changed the very culture of her realm by opening its imagination to myriad possibilities, strategies, ideas, visions and feelings. Her storytelling feat offers a rich trove of ideas for anyone wishing to communicate powerfully and persuasively.

During this presentation I look forward to sharing several stories and considering the methods, tools and skills of Sheherazade. We will look at developing the art of storytelling for three specific purposes in professional communication:

  1. Developing stronger, more trusting communities and organizations
  2. Communicating our mission, vision and values
  3. Storing and passing on information, knowledge and best practices

I strive to provide programs that educate, inspire and entertain, and I’m looking forward to February 18. I hope you can join us. In the meantime, here’s a fable that might be useful in your repertoire.

Naked Truth was walking down the street. Everyone he approached ran away from him. Later that day he bumped into his friend, Parable. “Nobody listens to me,” Truth said. “I have so much to tell them, but nobody listens.”

“Let’s go for a walk,” said Parable. So, Truth and Parable walked together for a while. Parable gave to Truth some of his garments and robes. Truth gave to Parable some of his knowledge and wisdom. Since that day you often see those two walking together, Truth clothed in the garments of Parable, Parable infused with the wisdom of Truth. And to this day people will stop and listen to the words of Truth clothed in the garments of Parable.

Working as a personal coach to assist executives in bettering their presentation skills or delivering a keynote talk to dentists or industrial designers, storyteller Will Hornyak has carved out a niche in the professional speaker’s market. Hornyak will be one of six speakers at TEDxMarylhurstU on February 18, 2016. 

image: Kirsten Skiles via Flickr