Columbia’s Strategic Storytelling seminar has always focused on how stories underpin our belief systems, how they inform our understanding of reality—and how you can use this quality to communicate effectively and persuasively. Because stories are emotionally involving, because they provide a structure for our sense of reality, they can take us places where logical reasoning cannot. This is particularly true in times of crisis. 


That’s going to be the focus of our virtual session in June: How stories can get us through uncertain times. Columbia Business School professor Rita McGrath, author of the new book Seeing Around Corners, will be on hand to talk about “time zero” events, and how planning for them through storytelling can lead to sharper, more incisive thinking. Karin Timpone, who left her job as global CMO of Marriott in January to join a startup in stealth mode, will talk about the long-term importance of building an audience—people who will be there in good times or bad. Faculty director Frank Rose will present case studies that show how brands and organizations have used storytelling to respond to adversity in many different situations. No marketing budget for your new product? A dispirited and demoralized workforce? A reputation to overcome? Storytelling is the most rewarding and efficient way to address each of these issues—especially with so many people unable to gather physically. We’ll show you how other people have responded creatively to these challenges, and we'll help you discover how you can do the same. 


In order to accommodate people in disparate time zones, the program will take place in four half-day segments on June 9-12 instead of two full days on June 11-12 as originally scheduled. We anticipate that the sessions will run from 10:00 AM to 2:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time with a half-hour break, resulting in slightly more class time than the in-person version.