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  • Even a superficial personal narrative can be compelling: Part Two

    Continuing on our theme from last time, it should be clear to anyone reading this that I have lamented the dearth of personal storytelling in the last US presidential election. As I have long been convinced that stories of identity are a leader’s most persuasive form of self-expression, I was surprised to see it employed so infrequently. Though I have

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  • Even a superficial personal narrative can be compelling: Part One

    In the past weeks and months, I have put forth on several occasions my opinion that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump had used personal stories of identity particularly well. By this assertion, I mean their discourse was far from the standard I would set when I speak of truly “leading by autobiography”.  One of the concepts at the center

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  • In search of the power behind Trump’s superficial narrative: Part Two

    As I wrote in the previous post, for the past few weeks I have been following a series of CNN’s journeys into the American heartland, visits where newspeople interview voters who had unexpectedly supported Donald Trump in the last election. The reporters are seeking to figure out why so many people in traditional democratic strongholds, and from families who had always voted

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  • In search of the power behind Trump’s superficial narrative: Part One

    This week, I continue my examination of the effectiveness of Donald Trump’s personal narrative. At first, my plan was to do a post pointing out some of the instances where Hillary Clinton might have used her own stories and life experience to great advantage. Recently, though, I have seen a bit of television reporting that gave me further insight into how

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  • Why Trump’s use of personal narrative served its purpose

    A few days ago, I went to a small ski area a few kilometers from my house. Thirty centimeters (about 12 inches) of heavy snow had fallen in the morning. The water content of the snow was extremely high, but it turned out to be very skiable. A nasty rain at lower altitudes meant that the crowds had stayed away,

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  • The psychology of storytelling

    My post from two weeks ago “How personal storytelling builds trust with listeners” (dated 17 February), drew a number of reactions from readers. For example, one person requested that I explain in more detail the psychology of storytelling. Specifically, she asked, how do personal stories build trust with audiences? A second question that caught my attention concerned the discourse of victorious candidate Donald

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