Getting Passionate with Strangers Using Storytelling

Great stories hinge on powerful obsessions, high drama, and devotion to a person or cause. And you can bring this into your small-talk life, even on a relatively uneventful Tuesday.

Generally, we think of it as rude to talk about ourselves too much in public.

We fear we'll over disclose. We’ll be boring. We’ll inspire awkward silences. Or worse, we’ll come off as self-absorbed and uncurious. Which is just the worst.

As collaborators, we are always looking for new ideas, exiting opportunities and smart strategies. Our successes are based on meeting people and sharing enough about ourselves to inspire curiosity and learning enough about them to be able to imagine partnering.

Storytelling can help.

The secret is talking about your passion. Great stories hinge on powerful obsessions, high drama, and devotion to a person or cause. And you can bring this into your small-talk life, even on a relatively uneventful Tuesday.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1:

When we meet people, it’s important to help them understand what we do as a verb, not as a job title or a category of work. We are often embarrassed to admit that we don’t know what a person does when they give us their title. We don’t want to seem unsophisticated, so this can keep us from asking deeper questions.

Instead, we do our new conversation partners a favor when we explain a bit about what we do: “I made videos that focus on telling socially sharable, inspirational stories about interspecies animal friendships like dogs and dolphins or turtles and kittens,” is more revealing than “I’m a documentarian.”

But the real magic is in...