Quite often these days I find myself telling my granddaughters a story I used to tell their mothers. It always begins in the same way: “It was a dark and stormy night …”
Their mothers loved it. They love it. And I love both the continuity that this single, rather clichéd opening gives to family life and the power that storytelling continues to exert over young and old.
Storytelling is at the heart of the case method. Both case writers and case teachers must be able to tell a good story. Students must construct a good story through the class discussion. And each day business people must add another paragraph, page, chapter to the story they are constructing: their company’s story.
So, here is a master storyteller, Kurt Vonnegut, sharing what he knows – at once simple and powerful – about the mechanics of storytelling: