Talking Story is Thriving. It’s What We Do.

When people hear about my decision to return to as home base, will often come up in our conversation. They usually say something like, “Oh wow, I know how you feel about Managing with Aloha, but it must have been so difficult to leave Talking Story behind.”

We haven’t left it behind — not at all!

Talking Story is alive and well; it keeps happening, and it keeps growing. was a very special place for us, however “talking story” is actually one of our verbs in Managing with Aloha, and it remains critically important in our vocabulary and our Language of We (Key Concept #5). This appears in the book within Chapter 11 on ‘IKE LOA, immediately after The Daily Five Minutes:

“This may be the best place to pause, and explain why I refer to “talking story” fairly often. Unfortunately, our Hawaiian ancestors did not pen a written history of our islands. Information was passed generation to generation verbally, with the ‘Ōlelo (the language and spoken word) and in storytelling. Today there is much effort in our Hawaiian renaissance to record what we know about our past history before the kūpuna (our elders) forget and can no longer tell it to us. Still today, for us to communicate and dialogue is to “talk story.” There is so very much I personally have learned from the ‘ōlelo form of teaching, perhaps most of all that anyone who speaks has the potential to be my teacher. I only need listen as well as I can, quieting the voices in my own head.”

“Talking Story” appears with ‘IKE LOA, the value of learning, because it does something powerful:

“As much as I love reading, you cannot replace the interchange that happens between human beings when you ‘ōlelo and talk story with each other. Learning is as much about the questioning, and the requests for clarification and complete understanding.”

Talking story is a succession of talk. It literally and emotionally will share our personal stories, and it builds upon our Aloha Spirit as we converse. Isn’t that what the best communication is all about, sharing from our inside out?

We often refer to KĀKOU, the value of inclusiveness, as our value of communication, because of the KĀKOU’s constant intention with getting people into the communications which matter. However communication factors into every single value in some way: Life is not a solo proposition, and our conversations will give life vibrant voices.

Talking story is conversation, and it will factor into every value too. My decision to highlight it with ‘IKE LOA’s Daily 5 Minutes was also because of intention: We talk story to learn better, and to open ourselves up to learning in the give and receive which will naturally happen.

One of my Alaka‘i Managers likes to say that “Talking story is like a ‘hang loose’ version of The Daily 5 Minutes: no time limit, no pressure to reach an agreement, no rules at all, just ALOHA and lots of it.” That’s a good description, one I like to aim for in all my conversations.

Talking Story isn’t one place; it’s everyplace.

It’s true that we’re leaving behind us for the time being, as the project space it was always intended to be. It’s also true that it grew into having it’s own Sense of Place; it became a site we were very comfortable in, and were proud of. It was the place we first learned about talking story online, long before there was Twitter and Facebook (which wasn’t available outside of college campuses until late 2006) and other choices in social media. was the place that the truly global connectivity of Managing with Aloha began to happen, and our ‘universal values’ tagline became so real as the movement spread. It was the place where The Daily 5 Minutes grew its virtual wings, first with telephone calls, then with Skype, and then with the Ruzuku interactive learning environment.

What all that means, is that we’re primed for more now, and more ready than we’ve ever been. We can talk story here, and in all our other places having learned what we’ve learned, and KŪLIA I KA NU‘U: We’ll strive for even more excellence, more conversational joy, more ALOHA.

I’ll admit that I can get quite nostalgic about, for it’s been a big, big part of my own history these past few years. It became very, very personal. However the more I thought about our plans here at Managing with Aloha, the more excited I became. I knew this was PONO; good and right.

We’re good at talking story, understanding how much it can do for us. The phrase is value-verbing that we wear well, and share well. Talking story gives us energy, and it always will. will remain online for an indefinite time so you can find your old favorites there should you wish to refer to them. I say “indefinite” because it will eventually be retired as edits of fresher relevance appear at Managing with Aloha going forward, or it will be reinvented as another future project space for us.

Read more about ‘IKE LOA, Talking Story and The Daily 5 Minutes in the Chapter 11 Book Excerpt. (It’s listed with our Resource Pages in the Sidebar.)

Postscript: A Short Story about Roy (and those birds)

Let’s not forget another thing about talking story: It’s fun, and one of the most pleasant ways you can spend your time. For instance…

Running has long been my workout of choice. I walk a lot too, simply for the Sense of Place goodness of getting outside, and taking my time with noticing more along each path, often with our canine ‘ohana, Kobe and Mana to keep me company. They’re good listeners, but they can’t talk story with me, and walking dishes up those pleasant encounters you’ll speed past when you run.

There’s a house I often walk by on a favorite route which includes the oldest homes of Waikōloa Village. Old on this stretch means forty years, for the village was established in 1972. This particular house keeps me on the street’s makai sidewalk, and it will always get me to turn my head and drink in the view. Not for its architecture, but for its beautiful landscaping (its owner loves hibiscus, tending to several different varieties) and because of the birds — hundreds of them, mostly sparrows, doves, and mejiros perched in the ironwood trees which line a service easement between this home and its neighbor. You can also see dozens of francolins scurrying around at ground level. That easement has become very fortuitous for these owners, both of whom have walled it off as well, for you know what birds can leave behind… Imagine when there are so many of them. My “hundreds” here is not an exaggeration, and I’ve often wondered what draws them there, as ironwoods aren’t normally birds’ nesting trees of choice in this village, where there are so many better options. I should’ve known it was because of someone kind in his avian-inclusive HO‘OKIPA.

I was able to catch Roy for the first time this weekend as he was sweeping his driveway. He looked up and smiled as we walked by, we said hello to each other, and I grabbed my chance to solve the mystery once and for all, asking, “Your yard is beautiful, and I really appreciate all the work you put into it. I’ve always wondered though; why are there so many birds here?”

“I feed them! At 7am and 5pm every day. Make sure they have water too. Those are…” and he pointed out all the varieties for me.

I learned a lot talking story with Roy. He’s in his early 80’s (but he’s exceptionally fit, and looks much, much younger) and bought the lot his home sits on for a mere $8,000 when Boise Cascade started to sell the village as a retirement community (something it no longer is). He has two homes, splitting his year between them; the other is in Alaska, and he recently became a great-grandfather, so those family ties in Alaska pull him north much more often now. He first came to Hawai‘i in the early 1950’s as an ensign, and he told me about walking Waikīkī Beach and Diamond Head then, when so much of it was “ugly brush no one would bother with” and there were just two hotels, the Moana and Royal Hawaiian, “so we all stayed at Fort Ruger, and if we were lucky, Fort DeRussy.” Fort Ruger is in and around Diamond Head crater; Fort DeRussy is in Waikīkī, and where the dance hall was back then in those years before statehood.

My five-or-so minutes talking story with Roy were illuminating and thoroughly joyful, and I hope I’ll see him more often. He made that walk my most memorable one of a whole week’s worth or more, sharing his Sense of Three Places; Waikōloa, Alaska, and Waikīkī.
[More about Sense of Place here: It’s our Key Concept and category number 8.]

One of the hibiscus in Roy’s yard

About Rosa Say

Rosa is the author of Managing with Aloha. She’s a writer and photo-taker, a workplace culture coach, and a zealous advocate of managers everywhere. She’s a wife and mom, sister and daughter, manager, leader and worker bee, living the best life she can, just like you. Learn more about Rosa at


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