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Some people think if you are telling stories you’re not being analytical. When I speak, I use stories a lot. I would encourage those who speak or are con- vening people to share powerful, real-life stories.


Is there a particular story that has stuck with you throughout the years? I tell one that encapsulates why authoritarian- ism isn’t going to last around the world. We were in Romania in 2005, and the Romanian people told us about the time when the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu went into a public square in Budapest and was telling people what he had done for them. All of a sudden, one elderly woman yelled,


“Liar!” into the crowd, and then 10 people and then hundreds and then thousands yelled the same word. He and his wife Elena were eventually exe- cuted — and it sticks in my mind that the moment people let go of fear, when a policeman or soldier refuses to fire into the crowd or moves away from the Berlin Wall, people assert themselves. That story about Ceausescu has stuck with me


as a powerful way that people were sharing a vivid image of why authoritarianism can’t last. There always will be one brave person in the crowd. And [the message] is best communicated by a story.


. ON THE WEB


Condoleezza Rice is a founding partner of the international consulting firm RiceHadleyGates LLC. Learn more about her work at ricehadleygates .com.


Susan Sarfati, CAE, is CEO of High Performance Strategies LLC (sarfatihighperformance.com), which focuses on organizational assessments, innovative thinking in organizational strategy, leadership and management, moving from ideas to execution, and building a human- focused learning culture. She served as CEO of The Greater Washington Society of Association Executives and executive vice president of ASAE. She can be reached at susan@ssarfati.com.


This interview is presented courtesy of the Washington Speakers Bureau.


PCMA.ORG


JUNE 2013 PCMA CONVENE


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