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seth godin quote
Architects, planners, and engineers struggle with storytelling for so many reasons. (One elephant in the room is that conversational speech – and stories – are discouraged in college courses and mocked by supervisors.) Business legend Seth Godin says: People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and […]

People buy relations, stories, and magic


active vs passive voice
Don’t fall for the “but it’s correct grammar” excuse. Your reader isn’t interested in an accurate-but-boring-and-probably-confusing article any more than they’re interested in a string of hyphenated phrases. Passive language is a literary sleeping pill. From rural towns to densely-populated metropolises, a wide range of geographies and demographics for public […]

You maybe should possibly consider less passive voice


canva is a visual storyteller's best friend
Have you ever discovered a productivity tool that sped up your workflow so much that you wonder why everyone doesn’t put it to use? Canva gets a lot of press in design circles. Anyone with basic mouse skills on the computer can be transformed into a graphic designer. But for […]

Canva will improve your storytelling



bipartisan support for your critical message
In the nicotine glory days, 4 out of 5 doctors smoked Camels. At least, that was the claim of the advertising campaigns. Storytelling helped hook people on cigarettes, and storytelling (and resulting peer pressure) changed our habits.   “Ok, but smoking wasn’t an obvious problem yet.” Data alone doesn’t make […]

Political support for your critical message


we are at war with charts, we are at peace with bar charts
I struggled for years with bar charts. They were a necessary evil — proof that data had been collected and some analysis conducted. I’ve been challenging myself to make data interesting on Twitter using two techniques: Create my own images (1024 x 512 pixels or 1024 x 1024 pixels) so […]

Coming to peace with bar charts on Twitter


millions spent, still can't cross the street
  Professional planners are disconnected from the average person. So are civil engineers and architects. How can I be so sure? Because I’ve been happily working in this boring industry for almost 20 years. The work of these experts¬†has direct and measurable impact on the general public. Here’s a real-world […]

Buzzwords and jargon will cure insomnia



use emotional hooks instead of just data
30-40,000 Americans die in traffic crashes every year. People make bad decisions on roads because roads are engineered for people to make bad decisions. Vicious. Professional planners and engineers know how to design safe streets. If data analysis reveals exactly what’s wrong, then why hasn’t there been a dramatic shift […]

How to make people care about boring facts