Scripting the Future with Dr. James McCabe: Report
“Stories are maps for charting the unknown.”
What an evening! A truly diverse group of members and friends joined our fascinating talk on Scripting the Future, with Dr. James McCabe. More than 55 people registered to learn about this essential survival skill in an age of uncertainty and the after party conversation continued long after our children’s bedtime!
This enthralling and interactive session began by James reading a beautifully immersive passage from Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh and asking us to reflect on how this relates to our next presentation or business communication. He continued to weave lessons from the ancient Greeks, Finnegan’s Wake, fractals, hormonal- and neuro-science, Disney and Apple to show us in a coherent narrative how we need to, and can, earn human attention in this zero attention iPhone era. We learned the difference between rhetorical persuasion and dramatic involvement and how to ‘code’ the key elements of dramatic narrative into all our professional communications, whether spoken, written or in other media. We also learned the key questions to ask ourselves in formulating our personal, company and products’ added value and brand to enable our audience decide we are best placed to support their needs. James also shared tips on identifying key markets and how good narratives raise the value of products and services. He believes that all stories are essentially about the future, because they are maps for charting the unknown. Therefore, it is more important than ever to become our own narrators, given the continuous crises we face.
James then set us a challenge to solve in small breakout groups of 4 or 5 persons. We had so much fun deciding what new company to create and then applying what we learned to choose a name and craft a slogan, vision statement and value proposition. We reconvened after the short exercise to share our ideas and learn even more tips on how to improve our pitch. The diversity of participants from many professions was clearly evident in the creativity of ideas and suggestions shared, including ‘windfall’ cider and ‘disconnect and discover’ for children.
The conversation continued in the after-party networking with much discourse on ethical and sustainable social media strategies, education, societal values, new forms of creativity, the increasing need for humanities in business and technology and the story of the current pandemic.
The IBN was gratified that so many participants made the time to share their positive feedback with us. Comments included “ thought-provoking, deeply insightful, empowering, caused me to question my ideas and beliefs, richness, depth and breath of material, one of the best conferences ever, best zoom of the week, when will you host the next workshop?”
Heartfelt thanks to James for generously sharing his wisdom, insights, experience and interesting perspectives in such an entertaining and thought-provoking manner and to all our participants! We covered so much ground in such a short space of time.
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