A Fortune 100 intra-company communication retreat, somewhere in the hinterlands. The corporate communicators are trying to teach the local communicators about storytelling, persuasion and other modern communication techniques.
The storytelling session includes an exercise where everyone is asked to write a compelling story about the organization. They are told that, for the purposes of the exercise, they can make up some of the facts and the names.
Then they get up and tell their stories. One guy tells a really compelling one about a company engineer who suffered a family tragedy and then surmounted an astounding series of obstacles to create a profitable product that ensured that the life that had been lost had not been lost in vain.
He is asked how much of the story was true. None of it, he confessses. He was just trying to apply storytelling principles to the kinds of stories the company would like to tell.
One of the local communicators raises his hand.
"Can we do that?" he says with a little quiver of excitement in his voice. "Can we just make stuff up?"
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