Donald Miller on Why Storytelling Matters

Natalie Dupuis

07 February 2017

The first time I read a book by Donald Miller, I was 18 years old. My parents dropped me off at college—eight hours from home—and like many students, I had that mix of anticipation and apprehension about entering a new phase of life. After a few weeks of school, I was fortunate enough to find a kindred spirit in an upperclassman who recommended that I read Donald’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. As a young journalism student, I knew that other people’s stories held power. But to read Donald’s words about reinvigorating his own story—that felt trajectory-altering for me. 

I began to understand that the four years that lie ahead were mine for the taking, and for the making. That my life choices and opportunities were not to be to taken for granted – every single one plays a part in defining who I am, what I stand for and how I can impact those around me. I will forever be grateful to my friend for pointing me to Donald’s work, because it has informed how I live my life. What power a storyteller can have! 

You can imagine my excitement, then, to announce that Donald Miller is speaking at Leadercast on May 5, 2017! As the CEO of StoryBrand, Donald uses his storytelling expertise to help organizations first understand what their customers want, so they can clarify their brand story to effectively reach their audience. 

Donald writes in a recent blog, “As business leaders, we often get so focused on our businesses that we forget to step back and see things from our customers’ perspective. We’re wrapped up in nuanced questions of logistics, market positioning, hiring, and finances. 

“But we often forget to simply ask, ‘Do people understand what we do?’ As a result, our potential customers walk away confused and unengaged. When we learn how to communicate simply and clearly, we stop confusing our customers and start connecting with them." 

Donald is also the best-selling author of seven books. One of his best-known books is Blue Like Jazz, which was turned into a popular film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2012. Donald’s latest book, Scary Close, explores the importance of vulnerability when it comes to creating and sustaining work relationships, friendships, family connections, and marriages. 

His books and his work with StoryBrand are evidence that Donald is driven by purpose. Each story he writes is intended to bring clarity to a common human experience. In Blue Like Jazz, it’s a spiritual clarification; in A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, it’s a directional clarification; and in Scary Close, it’s a relational one. At StoryBrand, Donald and his team are helping organizations clarify their messaging to serve their customers well. 

And here’s the key to truly connecting that Donald knows and shares: everyone has a story, and everyone’s story (when told with clarity) has the power to change someone else’s life. 

At Leadercast, our mission is to inspire people to be Leaders Worth Following. One of the ways we do that is through Leadercast Now, where you can learn from the stories of everyday leaders — people like you who are in the trenches, day in and day out, leading teams, organizations, and themselves, with vision, bravery and intention. Our hope is that these true stories and insights will be trajectory-altering for you; that you will take these lessons and fold them into your own leadership style and voice. Watch our Top Picks or hear from your favorite speakers.

Natalie Dupuis

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