It Is How You Tell The Story That Matters


Had a long conversation with someone today about how to handle a tough situation in which they were going to have to pass along some hard news.

They asked me if I thought it was possible for them to pass this news along without the other person(s) going ballistic to which I replied, “I don’t know.”

I said people like to believe that all of our choices and decisions are based upon logic and reasonable though but often times they are arbitrary and based upon gut reactions to whatever situation we happen to be facing.

And that is a big part of why it is so important to pay attention to you how you tell the story. Presentation has an impact and sometimes people take offense when none is intended and none should be assumed.


Look at those photos and you’ll gain a glimpse of more than twenty years of my life.  Look at those photos and you’ll see pictures that take you from the end of college through my entry into professional world, marriage and fatherhood.

Technically the same man is in every one of those photos but in practice there are some significant distinctions between them. The guy in the top left is very different from the man in the bottom center.

One guy is single and has no responsibilities while the other is married and a father.  Since I am speaking about myself I can tell you with complete certainty that my ideas about what I needed and what I wanted were significantly different.

Automated Marketing

So much of marketing is automated these days we sometimes forget that people are no longer surprised to receive a letter that is addressed to them pers0nally.

The same automation that we clamored for because it was going to make us more productive and allow us to offer more personal service has anesthetized us. We don’t recognize that the personalization we thought made people feel special is missing in many cases and that our communication takes a cookie cutter approach.

An approach that treats the 25 year-old in the top left the same way as it does the 44 year old in the bottom center. Sometimes that is appropriate but not always.

How you tell the story to those two guys matters because even though they are the same man their goals and their lives are dramatically different and consequently how they respond is likely to be as well.

What do you think?

(Visited 70 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Mary Stephenson January 15, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Hi Josh

    I can totally relate to that. When I was 17 I was laid off from a job, due to their inability to afford me anymore. I was in shock and devastated, all I wanted to do was run away. When I was older than I care to imagine in 2010 I was also laid off from a job I had for years, also due to budget cuts. All I felt was that they had made the decision too early (which they did, as I was called back in). But part of it was relief and a bit of thoughts okay now what. Secretly I was glad.

    I think in different stages of our lives since we have been around the block a bit we can definitely handle things much better the more seasoned we are. How someone reacts depends on how much effect whatever the news is, has on them. Were they aware of maybe or was it a total surprise and the impact on them personally. Are they used to bad news or are they constantly pampered and protected from it.


    • Joshua January 15, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      Hi Mary,

      There is no substitute for life experience is there.I know people who have led golden lives in which they really haven’t had to deal with much adversity.

      Sometimes I think it would be nice to have had a similar experience but when I really stop to consider it I don’t want it because no matter who you are, life will give you something sour to suck on.

      Sooner or later someone you love will die or you’ll face some sort of adversity and if you haven’t ever had to deal with it you’ll have to muddle through.

      I don’t wish ill on them but I think some things are more easily handled when you have had some learning experiences at a younger age.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please enter an e-mail address

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You may also like
%d bloggers like this: