Joshua Wilner http://joshuawilner.com A Writer Writes Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:59:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9 Women In Science Infographic http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/15/women-science-infographic/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=women-science-infographic http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/15/women-science-infographic/#respond Wed, 16 Apr 2014 02:59:57 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=3022 by FFunction. Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually. My daughter and I had a conversation about what women do when they grow up. At almost ten going on 30 I can’t say for certain what she will decide she wants to be when she is really old […]

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Women in Science

by FFunction.
Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

My daughter and I had a conversation about what women do when they grow up. At almost ten going on 30 I can’t say for certain what she will decide she wants to be when she is really old like me.

Becoming a scientist wouldn’t be a bad choice at all.

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What Makes A Good ‘About Me’ Page? http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/11/makes-good-page/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=makes-good-page http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/11/makes-good-page/#comments Fri, 11 Apr 2014 22:58:02 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=3005 You might wonder why someone would introduce themselves as the man who beat up an entire car load of clowns, especially if you were thinking about hiring them as the head lion tamer for your circus. Or maybe not. Maybe you run the ultimate fighting circus and what you are most concerned about is how […]

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Joshua

Pictures help set a tone. You need to decide if you’ll use one or many and determine what sort of ‘look’ you want to show. I am trying to decide if I should add or substitute this picture on my page.

You might wonder why someone would introduce themselves as the man who beat up an entire car load of clowns, especially if you were thinking about hiring them as the head lion tamer for your circus.

Or maybe not.

Maybe you run the ultimate fighting circus and what you are most concerned about is how many clowns were in that car because a man that can beat up a car load of clowns is exactly whom you need in your lineup.

Why Is Your ‘About Me’ Page Important

Your ‘About Me’ page is usually among the most heavily trafficked pages on your blog. It is your opportunity to introduce yourself to your readers and to tell them what your blog is about and to establish expectations.

There is some debate among the community about where first impressions are made. Some say that happens on whatever post new readers land upon and some say it is the ‘About Me’ page.

Either way the page provides you with a significant opportunity to work on that aforementioned impression and to help your reader understand who you really are.

Maybe you are the MMA fighter who beat up all the clowns in a car or maybe you are just a writer trying to capture a reader’s attention by taking a very different approach.

The distinction there is more significant than you might realize.

How Do You Write A Good ‘About Me’ Page?

There are multiple schools of thought about whether you should write your page in third person or first. The same can be said for what sort of picture or pictures you should include.

One of the nice things about working with an online publication like a blog is they are very easy to change, adjust and update. That means it is easy to test things out and make changes as you go.

Truth is that your ‘About Me’ page is probably not going to be static for very long. You’ll set it up and as your blog grows and or evolves you’ll have reason to change it.

Advice

My preference is to try and build a connection in a manner that makes you seem real, authentic and approachable.

By that I mean don’t try to impress people by writing something that sounds like a legal tort or medical review unless your readers are people who will respond to that.

The goal is to build a rapport and to convince the reader they have found someone special and they need to stick around.

What I try and do is write in fashion that mimics my speech and shares pieces of my personality. It is a what you see is what you get kind of approach and it has always been very successful.

But there is no single way of doing this so what you need to do is figure out what feels natural for you and run with that.

What do you think? Do you have a preference? Are there things you hate/love in “About Me” pages?

Share your thoughts in the comments and let’s talk.

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How Not To Respond To Comments http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/07/comments/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=comments http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/07/comments/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 02:19:44 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=2993 What is an editorial policy & Should Your Blog Have One? An editorial policy spells out what sort of coverage can be expected and provides more specific details about how you approach your content. It helps everyone understand why your focus might be on XYZ and not PDQ. It can be beneficial for dealing with […]

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Pyramids of Cheops. Menai hotel in foregound on left bank of River Nile near Cairo

What is an editorial policy & Should Your Blog Have One?

An editorial policy spells out what sort of coverage can be expected and provides more specific details about how you approach your content. It helps everyone understand why your focus might be on XYZ and not PDQ.

It can be beneficial for dealing with advertisers, guest bloggers and readers in general.

In concept it might offer some assistance with legal matters should they ever arise.

I am not an attorney so I can’t tell you how much or how little help it will provide but I can promise you guidelines are useful, especially when you are dealing with the wild and woolly internet.

There Are Differences Between Writers and Journalists

Sometimes people think that being able to publish online automatically turns them into a journalist. Call it a guess but I suspect Woodward and Bernstein will tell you there is a difference between writers and journalists.

During ten years of blogging I have seen ample examples of this usually in the form of a news story. Many bloggers play fast and loose with fact checking.

I am not saying every journalist is good about this but when you are trained to confirm facts with multiple sources it helps. In concept journalists will follow good journalistic practices and that will help limit your liability.

The Wild West

Sometimes dealing with people online feels a bit like a scene from a Wild West movie. You know the one where a bar fight breaks out and there is complete chaos inside the bar, bullets and fists are flying, bottles and chairs are breaking and you wonder when the hero is going to rescue everyone.

Except the blogosphere isn’t populated by men/women wearing white hats and sometimes you can be inundated with comments from angry commenters and no simple way to handle it.

I am not talking about spammers who offer you to pills that will help parts of your body grow but real people who are leaving angry comments about something you published.

If they aren’t filled with expletives and threats and are on topic you have to decide how to handle them.

The curses and threats are easy to explain. You just tell people you won’t publish that kind of stuff but you can’t deal with everything that way without raising questions.

I can’t give you a list of what will set people off. If you write a post that says Nutella is the greatest spread ever someone will send you a 25,000 word response and demand you publish it.

That is only partially tongue-in-cheek.

What I can say is if you promote your blog as one that competes with the “professionals” you should seriously look into adopting professional standards and having an editorial policy is part of that.

The Wrong Way To Respond To Comments

Some time ago I left a comment on a blog where I asked about how the writer acquired their material. The response I received didn’t answer my question.

Instead the commenter identified themselves as the editor of the publication and assured me the facts were accurate.

I hadn’t asked if the information was true. I asked how it was obtained, if there was an editorial policy and who it covered. When I asked a follow up question I received an automated message saying I had been identified as a spammer.

The non response and the go away you bother me kid response turned what should have been something minor into something bigger or it could have.

I don’t have a horse in this race and I don’t really care about the publication that did this. It is not one I read often or think highly of, needless to say their response didn’t help my impression of them.

But what if I did.

What  would happen if I was truly invested here?

Well it wouldn’t take long to write a post documenting what happened and potentially causing problems for said publication. It wouldn’t be hard to paint a compelling picture making them look bad.

What do you think?

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13 Shocking Examples: How Captain America Is Hurting Our Children http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/07/3-shocking-examples-captain-america-hurting-children/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=3-shocking-examples-captain-america-hurting-children http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/07/3-shocking-examples-captain-america-hurting-children/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 19:37:47 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=2981 I wouldn’t blame you at all for being wondering how I could possibly say Cap is hurting our children but some people think not vaccinating their children is protecting them so anything is possible. My son and I continued our tradition of seeing superhero movies together and thoroughly enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It […]

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Captain America

Captain America (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I wouldn’t blame you at all for being wondering how I could possibly say Cap is hurting our children but some people think not vaccinating their children is protecting them so anything is possible.

My son and I continued our tradition of seeing superhero movies together and thoroughly enjoyed Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

It was midway through the opening trailers that I started wondering about what affect the movies are having on our children but probably not for the reason some of you are thinking about.

I wasn’t concerned about whether our children will have trouble distinguishing between fact and fiction. If they are the right age to see the show it shouldn’t be an issue.

What I wondered about was what kind of impact the movies have on imagination. When I was a kid technology wasn’t capable of translating the vision of the comic book writers onto the screen.

Superpowers and amazing deeds in 3D were the sole province of our minds and imaginations.

But does any of that matter? Are the changes stimulating imaginations?

3 Shocking Examples Of How I Beat Captain America In A Fight

Those of you who know me well won’t be shocked nor surprised to read that headline and that is ok. You wouldn’t be surprised to hear me say I have a plan for how to defeat gorillas, alligators, rhinos and Vladimir Putin in single combat too.

And you really won’t be surprised to learn that boys who want to date my daughter will not be able to do so until after I finish my conversation with Godot.

Did I mention I am still waiting.

Imagination Is The Engine That Takes Us Anywhere

Some of the reverential talk about Steve Jobs has always made me roll my eyes a bit. Add his quirks and you might understand better why I used to refer to him as Voldemort but I haven’t ever doubted that he changed the world.

But I have also wondered what would happen if you and I had access to the same resources as he did. Would we limit our vision to what we see or would we push the boundaries?

Would we have enough of an ego to believe we know what people need and what they want. Would we be willing to try to give it to them?

What role would timing play in all of this?

If you see me staring off into space there is a good chance I am thinking about some of those questions or mulling over what is said in the quotes just below this.

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”― Albert Einstein
“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”― Albert Einstein
“Everything you can imagine is real.”― Pablo Picasso

Imagination And Captain America

I suppose the real fear about imagination and Captain America is that the movie will fill in the blanks for some people and they won’t be able to imagine anything more or different than what they have seen.

Part of me understands that. If you use a sports analogy you could relate it to seeing certain players leave the team they have always been with to go somewhere else.

I hate the Yankees but Derek Jeter will always be a Yankee, hard to imagine him anywhere else. But then again if Jeter wasn’t a Yankee would he be who he is today?

Michael Jordan didn’t start winning championships until Phil Jackson came along and installed a different system. Would he have found a way to help the Bulls win without the Triangle Offense?

Maybe.

Much of what happens in life is tied into the circumstances we find ourselves in. You might be the greatest copywriter ever but if you never get a chance to demonstrate it no one will ever know.

Could Joshua Wilner Really Beat Captain America In A Fight?

That last subhead is tied into SEO and the imagination. Could I really beat Captain America in a fight? Do I get to take the same super soldier serum that Cap got?

Do I get to train for the fight? Who is training me? What resources and tools do I have?

Who am I kidding, of course I could and can and that is because of imagination.

Imagination is the engine that takes us anywhere and if I have one major concern about school it is that I don’t want the system to beat imagination out of my children.

And in the professional world I don’t want business to be so fearful of change we stuff our imagination into a box and only rely upon things we have tried before.

What do you think?

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Treachery on the High Seas Of Web Hosting & Social Media http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/04/treachery-high-seas-web-hosting-social-media/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=treachery-high-seas-web-hosting-social-media http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/04/treachery-high-seas-web-hosting-social-media/#comments Fri, 04 Apr 2014 07:25:38 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=2964 Eighteen years ago I got on an airplane and spent an hour trying to ignore the moronic ramblings of the older man who was sitting next to me. Somewhere in the midst of his unwanted advice I turned to him and asked him if his tie needed to be loosened so that oxygen would reach […]

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Ship Garthsnaid, ca 1920s

Eighteen years ago I got on an airplane and spent an hour trying to ignore the moronic ramblings of the older man who was sitting next to me.

Somewhere in the midst of his unwanted advice I turned to him and asked him if his tie needed to be loosened so that oxygen would reach his brain.

Who knew 15 years later that these moronic ramblings  would set me on the path that led me into Treachery on the High Seas Of Web Hosting & Social Media.

Self Hosted Blogs and Digital Sharecroppers

You don’t have to look hard through the pages here to see I advise against being a digital sharecropper. Digital sharecropping is often described publishing your content on a 3rd party site that you don’t own.

It is considered to be risky behavior because when you don’t own the space you have limited control over what happens there. For example let’s say you rent a piece of land and build a very successful restaurant on it.

Critics love it and it turns into something special, a place everyone likes to frequent. Life is moving along just swimmingly and then one day you receive notice the owner of the land has decided to develop it and you are being kicked out.

You want to scream because you have no idea where you are going to move to. All of your time and effort has been spent building this space and now it is gone.

That scenario is why several years ago I moved into the world of self hosted blogging. I figured it was better paying a couple of bucks to o to control my hosting so  I would have greater control of my digital destiny.

Life Lessons of A Crazy Old Man

Many of you will be shocked to hear I was a very stubborn twenty-something and  I didn’t always respond well to criticism. I thought I did but looking back it is clear to me I wasn’t as secure in my abilities as I could have been so I didn’t always listen as well as I could have.

The old man in this example was a marketing consultant who was working on a project for the company I worked for. He and I were boarded that plane to give a presentation to a client and the reason he laid into me was because I didn’t take the presentation on the plane.

It was a day trip and I didn’t want a carry on so I checked the presentation materials and prepared to relax. He rightly told me it was a mistake and that I should have taken it on board with me because I couldn’t control what happened to checked baggage.

He was very short with me and since he was an older guy the lecture felt like he was treating me like his son and I already had a father who I didn’t want to be lectured by either.

Anyway something he said must have sunk in because all those years later I heard about a blogger who lost everything because they weren’t self hosted.  I remembered that discussion and moved to a self hosted blog.

Web Hosting Blues

In early January  my host said I was abusing resources and took down my blog without warning. We worked with their tech support to make some changes & they put the blog back up.

Things were fine again until a couple of weeks ago when they took me down. Since I had made the changes they asked for and they claimed I had the same problem I decided it was time to change hosts.

The first replacement host didn’t work out because they had a tech issue that started with my account before I moved the blog over. It wasn’t a good way to start a relationship so I canceled my order.

Second company came highly recommended and overall has been pretty good but it took more time and work than I would have liked to move the blog. I was down for almost a week, but a good friend helped me sort through some of the tech mess and we got it done.

The Future Is Bright

The dust has mostly settled here but you might see some more changes. I am optimistic about the future with this company but the experience has definitely made me want to do more to improve my tech skills.

Going to spend some more time learning about SQL and how to take care of some more back end stuff. Writing is still where I’ll focus most of my energy but it never hurts to know enough to take care of basic issues and or be knowledgeable enough to figure out who to go to for answers when things aren’t working.

What do you think?

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Why Marketers Should Write Fiction http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/02/marketers-write-fiction/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=marketers-write-fiction http://joshuawilner.com/2014/04/02/marketers-write-fiction/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 02:14:16 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=2953 Somewhere in the back of his mind he remembered hearing that army snipers underwent special training that allowed them to not move for hours at a time. He didn’t know if there was any truth to that or if it was one of those urban legends but he was certain they didn’t drink three cups […]

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Day 4 - Magic Kingdom

Somewhere in the back of his mind he remembered hearing that army snipers underwent special training that allowed them to not move for hours at a time.

He didn’t know if there was any truth to that or if it was one of those urban legends but he was certain they didn’t drink three cups of coffee before assuming their stakeouts.

Not that any of it really mattered because after 27 years on the job he had picked up his own set of tricks.

Some people would have been offended not to be noticed. Some people wished they had the sort of presence that made everyone notice but that wasn’t him and it was a good thing.

He had one of those forgettable faces that people just didn’t remember and a knack for blending in wherever he was. It was a big part of why he was so good at stakeouts but it wasn’t his best or only skill.

Ask the other guys about the pools of blood and body parts from the cabin and they would tell you they had never seen anything like it. Even the guys who had done two tours in Iraq and the captain that had busted up that Al-Qaeda ring in Afghanistan said it was bad.

But with one exception the blood and carnage had never made him miss a step.

Why Should Marketers Should Write Fiction?

The answer is because our jobs is to tell a story about the products/services and companies we work for or represent. Our objective is connect with the reader and to touch them.

Sometimes we want to touch their heart and sometimes we want to touch their brain but the ultimate goal is to use that connection to build a relationship.

A relationship that makes them reach into their wallet or company coffers and sign a contract to do business with us.

One of the ways we learn how to become more effective at building these connections is by writing fiction. When you write a story you have to think about how everything connects.

You take your words and create a beginning, a middle and and end. You insert characters into it and give them challenges to overcome and objectives to achieve.

Construction and Deconstruction

When you start to understand how a story is constructed you gain a greater understanding of how to build a story around your company and whatever products or services you are selling.

Some people might suggest that fiction has certain advantages because you don’t have the same limitations. It is not something you can apply across the board.

If you are writing about science fiction or fantasy you can build characters that have abilities normal people don’t have. The cop character from the story above could have super strength and x-ray vision but once you insert that people start seeing things differently.

They may suspend disbelief for a while but they won’t necessarily buy into what you are selling. But if you say he isn’t fazed by blood well they can accept that because it is not beyond the pale.

It is a characteristic that can be developed but that is a discussion that takes us a bit further afield than we should go.

Why Marketers Should Write Fiction

The point isn’t to get into what characteristics that particular character should or should not have but to think about ways to become a more effective communicator.

To think about ways to learn how to tell a better story that will resonate with people. Writing fiction isn’t a bad way to work on those skills.

Some of you might already be doing this and applying those skills to your job, after all I have read your material and I know you just might be exaggerating about how good a job that broom/soap does cleaning. ;)

What do you think?

photo by: Loimere

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What Do Rusty Screwdrivers and Marketing Have In Common? http://joshuawilner.com/2014/03/31/screwdriver/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=screwdriver http://joshuawilner.com/2014/03/31/screwdriver/#respond Mon, 31 Mar 2014 16:07:58 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=2949 It is generally considered bad form to suggest you want to stick a rusty screwdriver in the eyeballs of whatever marketing hack wrote the easy to understand instructions for using product/service XYZ, so I’ll pretend I didn’t say it. Scratch that, I am not pretending. I wrote it and I’ll own it but I’ll cover […]

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Craftsman Flathead Screwdriver

Craftsman Flathead Screwdriver (Photo credit: Ivy Dawned)

It is generally considered bad form to suggest you want to stick a rusty screwdriver in the eyeballs of whatever marketing hack wrote the easy to understand instructions for using product/service XYZ, so I’ll pretend I didn’t say it.

Scratch that, I am not pretending. I wrote it and I’ll own it but I’ll cover my butt by saying I don’t really want to stick a rusty screwdriver in anyone’s eyes but I would like to…

Want to read the rest of this post? You can find it at: What’s Missing In Your Marketing Materials?

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What Does the World Eat for Breakfast? http://joshuawilner.com/2014/03/27/world-eat-breakfast/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=world-eat-breakfast http://joshuawilner.com/2014/03/27/world-eat-breakfast/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 19:14:26 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=2946 What looks good to you? Breakfast is one of my favorite meals.  

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Click here to view the embedded video.

What looks good to you? Breakfast is one of my favorite meals.

 

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Facebook Demonstrates Why Digital Sharecroppers Live Dangerously http://joshuawilner.com/2014/03/21/facebook-demonstrates-digital-sharecroppers-live-dangerously/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=facebook-demonstrates-digital-sharecroppers-live-dangerously http://joshuawilner.com/2014/03/21/facebook-demonstrates-digital-sharecroppers-live-dangerously/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 21:42:23 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=2938 Digital sharecropping is often described publishing your content on a 3rd party site but it doesn’t have to mean it is the only place you publish. Some of my friends, colleagues and cohorts are learning the hard way that digital sharecropping doesn’t always work out as well as we might like it to, especially those […]

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an unwitting victim...bwahahhahahaa

Digital sharecropping is often described publishing your content on a 3rd party site but it doesn’t have to mean it is the only place you publish.

Some of my friends, colleagues and cohorts are learning the hard way that digital sharecropping doesn’t always work out as well as we might like it to, especially those who built very large and active Facebook communities.

Why?

Facebook Is Ending the Free Ride

Yeah that subhead is actually a link to a story on Valleywag that is should be of great interest to anyone who has been relying upon Facebook as their primary source of digital traffic.

Look at the following:

A source professionally familiar with Facebook’s marketing strategy, who requested to remain anonymous, tells Valleywag that the social network is “in the process of” slashing “organic page reach” down to 1 or 2 percent.

and

The alternative is of course to pay for more attention. If you want an audience beyond a measly one or two percent, you’ll have to pay money—perhaps a lot of money, if you’re a big business.

The change was described to me by a source as a cataclysm for businesses, something Facebook is calling the extreme throttling a “strategy pivot” they’re slowly telling brands one by one so as not to start a panic.

You Have To Pay To Play

It used to be that status updates on your page would reach a large percentage of those who had liked and or followed it. It used to be easy to reach people because it was right there in their feed but not any more.

Now Facebook is encouraging us all to spend a couple of bucks to reach people.

If you are willing to pay for advertising this might not be a big deal to you at all. It is not all that surprising or unexpected because at some point Facebook has to work to make their shareholders happy and when you have access to that many eyeballs advertising is a gimme.

It doesn’t take the business acumen of a Warren Buffet to have seen this coming either.

What Can You Do To “Protect” Yourself

If you don’t want to run the risks that come with being a digital sharecropper the easiest thing to do is to simply not do it. But let’s take a step back and ask why you are using Facebook or any social media platform.

If you are doing so for business purposes we’ll assume that you have identified the platforms that your prospects and customers most frequently use and that there are enough on them to merit being there.

Since you are both smart and savvy we’ll say we are confident that you have taken steps to try and sign those people up to a list you control and that it doesn’t matter if Facebook throttles your access because they still get your message from that source you control.

Can you Game The System?

Sure, there is always a way to game the system but if you can avoid trying to figure out how to do that you should. Work smarter, not harder. Measure twice, cut once and all that other rot is applicable here because it makes sense and it is smart.

What do you think?

photo by: bark

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How To Tell A Great Story http://joshuawilner.com/2014/03/19/tell-great-story/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=tell-great-story http://joshuawilner.com/2014/03/19/tell-great-story/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 02:11:27 +0000 http://joshuawilner.com/?p=2936 I often tell my children that learning how to tell not just a good story, but a great one is a skill that will serve them well in every area of their lives. It doesn’t matter if you are talking about the personal or professional world stories are a part of every person, every culture, […]

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Click here to view the embedded video.

I often tell my children that learning how to tell not just a good story, but a great one is a skill that will serve them well in every area of their lives.

It doesn’t matter if you are talking about the personal or professional world stories are a part of every person, every culture, every race and every religion.

Watch this TED talk with Andrew Stanton and you’ll gain some useful insight and information.

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