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eTips from the Storytelling Coach - Number 1

Howard Gardner, Value Telling

October, 2000

eTips is a free electronic newsletter from Doug Lipman. You can subscribe, unsubscribe, or read a more detailed description of the newsletter at the eTips page. You can also read the other back issues.


1) Resource recommendation: a book on leadership that emphasizes storytelling.
2) Workshop announcement: Value Telling: Finding Stories That Convey Your Values.

I hope you are doing well. May your storytelling continue to thrive!
Here's the newsletter. Let me know how you like it:

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1) Resource recommendation: a book on leadership that emphasizes storytelling.

My friend Annette Simmons just called my attention to a book first published in 1995, Howard Gardner's "Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership." (Basic Books. I found it online at Barnes & Noble - - but not on Of course, your local bookstore might be happy to order it for you.)

What makes this book especially interesting to storytellers is its core emphasis on storytelling. Gardner does not just talk about storytelling as a trick in a leader's communication toolbox. Rather, he views storytelling as an essential function of leadership.

Tying stories (defined broadly, to include narratives expressed through words, non-linguistic means, or even embodied in one's character or life) to basic cognitive functions, Gardner argues that leaders need to understand the competing stories in their audience's minds, then frame and communicate stories that are compelling enough for others to adopt as their own.

Gardner details this theory through individual chapters on 20th century leaders of all kinds, from Margaret Mead to Margaret Thatcher, from J. Robert Oppenheimer to Eleanor Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, Jr.

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2) Workshop announcement:

Value Telling: Finding Stories That Convey Your Values.

(A weekend workshop near Boston, MA.)

Years ago, I taught classes to educators, helping them find stories they could use in teaching various subjects. More recently, I have been helping executives recognize and tell personal stories that reflect what they deeply believe in.

I was struck with the similarity of the two processes. As a result, I decided to create a workshop that led people through this basic, but not always obvious process. How do you find and tell stories that communicate your values?

The process has three basic parts:

  1. clarifying and detailing the values you want to communicate,
  2. scanning your life experiences for potential stories, then
  3. choosing and shaping one or more stories that will help your listeners share your most cherished life principles.

The workshop is designed to help you find value stories, adapt them for specific situations, and tell them with authenticity.

I've written an article detailing this process. For a copy via email, just reply to this email with your request. Or go to the web page.


Stories are the most powerful tool for communicating values, since they enter our hearts by engaging our imagination. But finding the stories that convey specific values can be daunting.

This workshop will lead you through the process of clarifying your values, finding stories (especially from your own life and from your imagination) that relate to them, and performing and adapting the stories you find.

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Doug Lipman

152 Wenonah Road, Longmeadow, MA 01106 U.S.A.
Phone: (781) 837-1940
Alternate Phone (rings the same line): (413) 754-6728
Fax (toll-free): (888) 300-6665

This page was last updated on Friday, November 28, 2003
Copyright©2000 Doug Lipman