Saturday, 7 December 2013

Have you heard about ....

Rumor or gossip; it sounds so negative. But when you refrase it to "rumor around the brand" or "word of mouth" it all of a sudden sounds much more like something you can use to spread a message.

People love to talk about things they think others don't know about. It can be about a person, but also about upcoming situations or changes.

There is even a Basic Law of Rumor:

R~I x A x 1/C

And this codes back to:

Rumor is a function of Importance x Ambiguity x 1/Critical Sense

And now in understandable English:

When there is an important subject in a situation where the audience doesn't have much clearity on the subject, and if the audience isn't very critical about the resources they use for the information on the subject, there is a very large chance rumor will spread.

Just think about it. You think a co-worker is pregnant (important subject), but she doesn't tell (no clearity) and you ask a co-worker if he thinks she is pregnant (not a very reliable source) and you believe him if he confirms, you have a big rumor on your hands your co-worker is pregnant. Now, that is a nasty rumor.

But if you have a business and you want to introduce a new product. You just let slip somewhere, there might be something happening soon. Somebody hears this, doesn't have much information to go along, but he or she does talk about it with a friend. Who talks about it with a friend. Who talks about it with a friend. You have a rumor happening. And free publicity for your product launch.

Storytelling with a different twist.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Goodbye sweet storyteller

Today the world lost one of its great storytellers.

Goodbye mr. Mandela.
May your spirit dance through the heavens and your story be told on for generations to come.

Because, he had a story to tell.

What I posted earlier this day. Important stories are the ones that matter, the ones that stay in your mind.

Mr. Mandela's story was on that mattered. To stop discrimination, to stop Apartheid (that one dradded Dutch word the entire world knows). And it stays in your mind. Just think about it, being imprisoned under the worst conditions, just because you stand up for what you believe.

Besides the importance of the story, he also was able to tell his story. He had a good voice to tell his story; he danced his story; his fist up in the air; and of course his smile with that twinkle in his eye.

Please keep spreading his story, it is one that matters!

The tales that really mattered

or the ones that stay in the mind."

Some people reading this line will recognize it immediately. It is from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Samwise Gamgee is talking to Frodo when they struggle on their path in Mordor.

They are talking about the important stories. How people in those stories had chances to change their paths, back out so they wouldn't get into trouble. Being in a situation like Sam and Frodo at that moment. But they didn't, they kept on going. Making it in the end a beautiful story. A story to be told: "Let's hear about Frodo and the Ring!" And they"ll say: "Yes, that's one of my favourite stories."

Lord of the Rings has become one of those famous stories. Still being told after almost 60 years. Read by millions of people. And turned into three billions earning movies. It is one of the first fantasy novels recognized as literature. Most fantasy books afterwards have their roots in The Lord of the Rings.

But all stories can learn from what Sam is saying. Make your story so that it really matters to your readers. Or make sure it stays in the mind of your readers. With those ingredients you have a good story to tell.

Thursday, 5 December 2013


Today, December 5th, is a very important day for Dutch children. 

Because today we celebrate Sinterklaas. 

This Saint comes each year to The Netherlands. On his ship, all the way from Spain. Bringing with him gifts for the little children. Assisted by his loyal helper Zwarte Piet (Black Peter).

The story around Sinterklaas dates back from a very, very long time ago. First he came in the form of Wodan, one of the old Northern European Gods. Collecting the offerings from the people and bringing them new seeds for next years harvest.

Later the Catholic church gave Saint Nicolas, protector of children and sailors, the role of the bringer of gifts in the cold December month.

Nowadays Sinterklaas arrives half November and from that day children are allowed to put out their shoe during the nights. Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet come around to bring some sweets and maybe a small present. In return they love to receive letters, drawings and maybe something for Amerigo, Sinterklaas' loyal horse.

And on December 5th they bring around the big gifts. For the adults in the evening, so they can have fun unwrapping, reading poems and teasing eachother a bit. For the kids, a big pile of gifts awaits them December 6th in the morning.

Hmmm, it just came to my mind
Writing about a story this kind
I should write in rhyme
That belongs to this time.

So on this day fair

A story to share
A tale for you
To give to friend or two

And now, off to unwrapping gifts. Lets see what Sinterklaas has brought me.
And do tell me, what did you get?

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Stories around my wrist

A story doesn't have to be a book, a movie, a song. It doesn't need a website or a cover. Some stories you carry with you, where ever you go.

My personal storyline for the past couple of years has been my Pandora bracelet; a bracelet to which you can add charms, in various shapes and colours, to make it your very own, unique bracelet. 

I started with a bracelet with one charm. And whenever somebody asked me: "what do you want for your .....". I asked for a charm. But I let them pick it and tell me the story why they thought it was for me. 

So let me tell you the stories around my wrist.

  1. A suitcase. The one I got from my parents when I got the bracelet. For safe travels on my trips.
  2. A present. I got this from a co-worker when I changed workplace. A gift for the gifts of knowledge I had given her.
  3. A wave that says "Best friends". I got it from my nephew for my birthday. We are of course best friends.
  4. A tea cup. A gift from other co-workers when I left. Because you can have such nice chats with me while having a cup of tea or coffee.
  5. An arty design with pink sparkles. This one I gave to myself, after I finished a huge museum exhibition I organised. It marked a big event in my life.
  6. An apple. A souvenir from The Big Apple. I love New York.
  7. A witch. Because, well, I can be one....
  8. A clover. I got it when I went back to school to get my bachelor degree. For good luck.
  9. A pink bead. Because, if it is pink, it probably belongs to me.
  10. Dad. The bead has the word dad on it, with some blue stones in it. I got it from my dad.
  11. Two hearts; mother/daughter. Because when you have your dad with you, you also have to have your mum with you.
  12. The safe keeper. It ties both ends together, so should the lock fail, the bracelet still stays together. Because, as you can imagine, I don't want to lose this storyline.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A day on an airport - Atlanta

I love travel stories. What do people have to tell about a place they have just visited. To go with them, through their story, to a new place or to hear them raving about their most favourite place in the world. To maybe do stuff I would never dare to do or be able to do. 

And I love to share my travel stories. Don't start me on New Zealand, because you won't be gone within the next half hour. I just keep on going, I love it there. And New York, ah! Or the Dutch sea side or ..... (there you go.... I can't stop and in my mind I'm there again).

Getting from one place to another is for me also a fun part of traveling. Being at an airport, watching other people come and go. And traveling itself. By train, bus, plane. To interact with other people, hear where they are going. Watch them spending their time.

CNN made an amazing visual and written story. About the airport of Atlanta. "A day in the life of the world's busiest airport". With beautiful images from the people and life at the airport. But also stories of the visitors. People who are waiting for others to come home. People who are traveling somewhere.

Go check it out. It looks stunning and the reading is wonderful. Start scrolling through it or pick a key word you want to see and read about.

Monday, 2 December 2013


"No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten"

This is the chorus to Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield.

A song on how you can write your own story. You decide who you are and what you tell the world. And with your story, you can reach the top and even inspire other people.

So, just start writing, singing, dancing, painting, photographing, being, your story. Be Unwritten. And inspire others to share their story.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Bedtime stores

Since this week has turned into storytelling week, I'm going to share with you one of the funniest and sweetest movies I know about storytelling.

Bedtime stories (2008).

It tells the story of Skeeter Bronson. He grew up with his father telling him bedtime stories. And when he has to look after his sisters kids for a week, he tells them bedtime stories. 

The first evening he and the kids make up a story.
Where various things happen to the main character, Skeeter. But the kids think the story is a bit boring and add to the ending that it rains gumballs.

And what happens the next day, while Skeeter is driving his car?
It rains gumballs. My absolute favourite scene in the entire movie.

When Skeeter finds out it are the additions from the kids that come true. He tries to steer their story into things he will benefit from. But, of course, it is a Disney movie, so the movie needs a lesson. This doesn't go well and he has to try to make his own story happen.
One of my favourite quotes from the movie is: "Your fun is only limited by your imagination". Too bad they don't really use it in the movie. Because towards the end all the strange things happening are brought back to reason and just every day happenings. And why tell a good story when you can't have the impossible happen?