That’s a snapshot of the day I graduated from U of I—May, 1986. My roommates and I didn’t actually attend our graduation ceremony. We rented the robes and hats and orange and blue tassels (Go Illini!), but we had our own ceremony right in the living room of the large first-floor house we rented in Champaign-Urbana on Wright Street. We told our parents not to come because the commencement ceremonies “were just too big and impersonal.” Instead, we each wrote something to read, like a poem or … [Read more...] about Storytelling Snapshots at Work
The Stories We Tell Ourselves
I used to dread the annual day in grade school when they tested all the girls and boys on their physical fitness, like how many pull-ups and pushups you could do—Pull-ups. Zero…Pushups. One. But the thing I remember most was being asked to climb a rope that hung from ceiling to floor in our grade school gymnasium. That rope was like the main attraction in the Big Top at the circus. I mean, everyone could see if you could climb that rope or not. Not like over at the pull-up station. Pull-ups were … [Read more...] about The Stories We Tell Ourselves
Deepening Ties Through the Art of Conversation
Have you been in that situation before where you'd like to move beyond small talk but just can't seem to do it? How do we deepen our connections with the people we encounter in our lives? Chip and Dan Heath explore this in their enlightening book, The Power of Moments, and the answer is easier than you think. Imagine a scenario where you show up at a bus stop and there's somebody already waiting there. You say, "Hi," and the other person responds, "Hey." End of conversation. But let's … [Read more...] about Deepening Ties Through the Art of Conversation
Hold Hands With Strangers?
It was 7:50 PM, and we were running through Times Square in New York trying to make an 8:00 PM show at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 46th St. We had made the mistake of ordering dessert at dinner (I just had to have some tiramisu), thinking we would grab a cab to ferry us to the theatre in time. Big mistake. The cab was barely moving through the congested traffic, so we literally hopped out in the middle the street—me, my husband, sister, and friend from high school—and started wending our way … [Read more...] about Hold Hands With Strangers?
This Improv Game Could Make You an A+ Communicator
You’re standing face to face. Your eyes are locked. You begin to tilt your head. Your partner follows. No, you’re not going in for a kiss. You’re playing an improv game called “The Mirror Exercise,” an acting game designed to teach people empathy—how to be in sync with others. It’s also a great way to improve your speaking skills, whether you’re talking one-on-one or speaking to a group. I first started using this improv exercise when I was teaching public speaking to high schoolers over 15 … [Read more...] about This Improv Game Could Make You an A+ Communicator