Storytelling Secret Sauce—Via Maya Angelou

Flickr: Zennie AbrahamWhen I heard that Maya Angelou had passed away this week, I was saddened, humbled and hugely appreciative.

Unlike most writers (especially poets and memoirists) or activists, Dr. Angelou made herself and her perspective accessible and relevant to all. She did so by shaping her writing around the same sensations and feelings each one of us experiences, bridging the gap between her life and point of view, and ours:

Human beings should understand how other humans feel no matter where they are, no matter what their language or culture is, no matter their age, and no matter the age in which they live. If you develop the art of seeing us as more alike than we are unalike, then all stories are understandable. (via Harvard Business Review)

There’s so much I learned from Angelou, so many ways and times she inspired me. Today, I want to share her storytelling secret sauce with you…

 I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Dr. Angelou was a masterful communicator. And although few of us can claim this kind of relevance rules communications finesse right now, she showed us it can be done.

I’ve shared this quote countless times in trainings and keynotes, and everyone always gets it immediately! I hope Dr. Angelou’s words guide and inspire you to tell better stories about your organization, cause and impact. As Angelou cautioned, “there is no greater burden than carrying an untold story.”

How has Maya Angelou guided and inspired you? Please share your memories and favorite writings here.

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Nancy Schwartz in storytelling | 2 comments
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