Field Tool to Stitch Stories Together

"Stitch your own damn story together!"
--Uncle Harry

StoryOutline Field Tools.jpg

A Field Tool toStitch YourStory Together

I developed this field tool to tackle long-form strategic storytelling:

  • Creating annual reports,
  • Presentations, and
  • White papers.

The StoryOutline Field Tool helps mecapture the visualization of the final product that I see before I startwriting the project.

Comprehensive stories area chorus of narratives coming together in  primary text, vignettes, profile stories, sidebars, infographics and more. Strategic storytellers now have a Field Tool to stitch them together.

I'm also giving you exactly my method for the StoryShape Field Tool.

Uncle Harry calls that a Two-fer.

New Tool: Storygraphics to Own Your Narrative

I was recently named to Columbus Alive's class of 2017 'People to Watch.' Each year they choose the eight most interesting folks worth paying attention to.

The story about me captured all of the moments in my life that no other journalist has covered. My friend Joe Byler told me yesterday that my story is one of bravery, courage and vulnerability.

Of all the media, this is the best ever; and great PR is never coincidence. Storygraphics were the differentiator.

At the start of my interview for the piece with journalist Joel Oliphint, he pulled from his bag a printout of the 'Shape of My Story,' an infographic tracking my life to the narrative of the Hero's Journey (a true story).

My storytelling prop, I call it a Storygraphic, was the foundation for the interview, showing exact moments in my life where decisions were made, challenges were overcome, and positive milestones reached.

The Storygraphic was included in the story:

All has a firm grasp of his story — so much so, in fact, that he created a line graph of his life with “Leadership Development” on the Y axis and his age on the X axis. All plotted various points in his life, and the white line connecting the dots peaks a little after age 30, but then a red line charts a massive descent under the heading “Crucible.”

Storygraphics  Key to Owning Narrative & Reputation with media

Owning my story at has been an ongoing process. In fact, the writing process has allowed me to go very deep into my story as new pieces open. I did not create the 'Shape of My Story' as a tool for public relations and reputation management, but as a communications professional, I now see it as essential.

I have written hundreds of press releases, op-eds and speeches, but the Storygraphic is a new medium, a more modern approach, to owning a narrative. Particularly a story that takes place over time or hasn't been well-reported.

If you are interested in learning about my process on this particular Storygraphic, check out this blog post. I'm in the process of revising the model once again, the article provides a deep gust of wind in my sails worth noting, so stay tuned.

ALIVE... and Grateful

This week I was honored to be named one of eight 'People to Watch' by Columbus ALIVE.

This was an important moment for me personally.

The story reads authentic, more personal than any I have ever read about my struggles, my work and my commitment to our community.

And the need is great to shine a light on 'Recovery Deserts,' a project I started to define, map and identify where treatment and recovery access is needed most.

Though I am humbled to be the 'person,' it is not only about me. All of my work is the work of a team and our growing community. I am grateful to these leaders for helping our community using their creative knowledge skill-sets.

Thank you. I am grateful, honored, and open to what the world has to offer and how I can continue to help the world!

Free Tool: Pitch Deck Checklist

The act of creating a pitch deck or presentation for a new startup seeking investment, announcing a new product to key stakeholders, sharing capabilities with a new client, et al is a repeatable process that can be mastered.

And yet, the process is learned through word-of-mouth, searching the internet through click-bait articles, or simply using another deck from decades earlier as template. 

Our background writing speeches on Capitol Hill for a U.S. Senator and then dozens of Members of Congress always followed a similar formula, but we always used a 'Speech Checklist.' Now for the first time ever, we have leveraged our experience and expertise to freely give to our community the Pitch Deck Checklist.

OneNineNinety is passionate about working with founders and businesses tell their story as effectively as possible. To that end, we will work with you to develop your pitch deck as-a-service, or become a more confident speaker through our Speaker's Bureau services. 

Regardless, let us know if the Pitch Deck Checklist is useful. We'd love to see your final product and learn the outcome! 

Connectors Key to Connecting Communities

Connect Connectors @ Connected Morning

This week OneNineNinety hosts an event called CONNECTED MORNING bringing together ~100 Connectors in the Columbus community. It's an invite-only experience to ensure each connection has a deeper connection.

Our reason for doing this: Connectors are the key to connecting communities.

Check back on the Keep it 💯 blog later this week for a full re-cap and we'll share even more of the details of how we engaged this influential community.

What is a Connector?

When people in my community tell me what they need, I think immediately of the people that can help them -- usually in a very big way.

When I make an introduction, I pride myself on taking great care to 'Pre-Introduce' someone before firing off unwanted emails, and typically being spot-on in my introductions.

In the analogy of the old switchboard phone operators, that's me, sitting there taking the incoming calls. But for the most part, the person calling doesn't know who can help.

I know who can help you or how I can get that information! Boom, connection! 💥

I am a Connector.

In fact, I am a Super-Connector, as per Entrepreneur:

Super-connectors know everyone and everyone knows them. These people build relationships very quickly and with a lot of people. Super-connectors are invaluable people. They match people with opportunities and, in doing so, they leave their connections with a positive opinion of them and their abilities.

Connecting is Both Science and Art

A few years ago, I tracked the connections I made, and then followed up with both individuals to learn the outcome of the introduction, the value of the introduction to them, etc.

I learned a lot and wrote a post on Linkedin, "The Art and Science of the Introduction."

The science part is the process:

  • Pre-introduce, if necessary (people might be too busy or focused at moment)
  • Necessary contents to include in an email (blurb about both and WHY they should connect)
  • And perhaps a follow-up from me, the Connector, in a perfect world

The art is the bit requiring instinct:

  • Who connects to this need? (how deep is your network and how fast to process it) 
  • WHY the connection?

Are you a Connector? I'd love to learn any advice you might share. Get in touch.

Looking Back: 'Shootings' and the Birth of Blogs on Capitol Hill

This week's shooting on Capitol Hill reminds me of a 2006 'shooting on Capitol Hill' situation when I was spokesperson for then U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston of Georgia. Our communication response led to the birth and adoption of blogging on Capitol Hill.

On a hot August morning, I was sitting at my keyboard writing a press release when the Capitol Police closed our door and told us we were on lockdown until further notice.

"Shots had been fired" in the Rayburn House Office Building parking garage as reported by a Member of Congress we were told.

Click here to read the full blog post from that day.

In 2006, blogging was unknown or considered taboo.

In fact, Jack's Blog was one of the only blogs for a Member of Congress on either side of the aisle (controversial to use WordPress!). We persisted, using it to communicate authentically with his constituents and the broader blogging community and media. (Jack would later be named the "King of the Blogosphere.")

During this "lockdown" period, I turned to the blog and started updating our constituents on what was happening, what the Capitol Police were telling us and artfully getting the word out about some of the key products from our district ("We're stocked up on Georgia Peanuts, Vidalia Onions and Coca-Cola Classic, we'll be fine.").

Word spread about the blogging and our blog became the primary source for media covering the news story. There it was on ABC News and CNN quoted word-for-word as Jack's Blog. Indeed, we were driving the news story from inside the situation through 'New Media.'

This was a first, and my colleagues were paying attention.

Fortunately the 'gunshots' ended up being backfire from a car in the garage. CNN wrote the story.

But I remember being out at the bar that night with reporters and press secretary friends and everyone talking about this moment being the 'Tipping Point' for blogging in politics.

From this moment on, blogging was a tool Capitol Hill taken seriously and immediately incorporated into the communication strategy. And for Jack and me, validation that direct communication mediums, when used effectively, make all the difference. Jack was a pioneer and trusted me more than I have ever been trusted; and it paid off for both of us.

Oh, and that even in un-related stories, Georgia Peanuts, Vidalia Onions and Coca-Cola Classic can provide color in a news story and move the needle in our district.

"Social media is for people. It's not for brands." Our Approach to Facebook.

OneNineNinety is on Facebook as a Brand Page, but we're not actively building up the community.

It's not that Facebook isn't a valuable tool for us to reach potential and existing clients, thought leaders, new hires and other stakeholders, but what our strategy for this company comes down to is a simple premise:

"Social media is for people. It's not for brands."

-Mark Ritson, Adjunct Professor at the Melbourne Business School

For those who know my background as the 'Pioneer of Social Media in Politics,' this may seem counter to my earlier work. But obviously, it's not if you consider that politics is mainly about Leaders and movements are about groups of people rallying behind an idea.

The reality is that Facebook forces brands to advertise to reach their own fan base, which seems antithetical to building an authentic community of people.  And the efficacy of these brand pages even with advertising is also questioned.

I literally can't think of the last time I saw a brand page in my feed that wasn't connected to an event, sponsored or shared by a friend.

We have decided that our team and our advocates will be better at reaching our audience through our personal pages and network.

Just this week, three new leads!

Facebook has now created a culture of asking questions and seeking recommendations from your personal network. No brand is going to chime in on a question and it may not be considered credible if it did.

Brands can only push out a message and (sometimes) respond to direct mentions; not pay attention to everything in a newsfeed and be a participant. Oh wait, brands don't have a newsfeed, a page is just something you manage.

You get my point. We're focusing our Facebook efforts  for OneNineNinety on our personal pages so that we can make meaningful connections. Here's mine:  David All.

Let's work together!


Why we named our blog after an emoji, the 100

In our connected world of communication, symbols like emojis provide fun ways for us to express what we're trying to say without words. Some take on special meanings to each of us -- and doubtless we all have our favorites.

As I started thinking about the overall brand expression of the content on the OneNineNinety blog, the 💯, as a brand, was the most obvious and definitive choice.

For us and especially our audience, it might be easy to take for granted that the 1-9-90 Principle which we're named after leaves no one out, each piece totals 100 percent every time, and it represents the entirety of an audience.

This whole-ness of every audience we consider is valuable to me and one I hope we never forget.

The Internet tells us that the 💯 emoji represents a way of expressing 'Keep it real.' And this meaning fits our philosophy tenet, 'True Stories Matter,' perfectly. Another reminder that when it comes to stories, 'Keep it real,' no more myths. 

As with all blog titles and the content, we merely hope that the content provides another view into our thinking, approach to communication and the care for our craft.

Enjoy, comment, share and obviously, Keep it 💯