Story at Work. Why would we abandon story at work when we know how potent it is to convey a message in all other walks of our lives? When we see a film, TV show, or read a book that makes us feel big emotions, that motivates and inspires us or changes how we think, why would we not tell story at work for the same result? Story at Work is why and how to employ story as compelling communication.

Asking for and listening to story

Ask for, and listen to story. It’s a skill

Asking for and listening to story

Very often I’m fortunate to be in a position to ask for, and listen to story.

Recently, I met a man dedicated to ridding the world of polystyrene packaging for perishable goods.

After seven years in the game, he’s invented an organic, temperature-stable, recyclable, packaging product, which has trialed effectively to transport fresh fish and temperature-sensitive cancer drugs.  Now, he’s just short of a million dollars toward eliminating one of the most toxic waste products on our planet.

Then there’s the organization that’s developed a bulk process to manufacture a critical component of a substance one atom thick. It’s been shown to create a membrane so fine it can filter seawater directly into potable water.  The road to a global market is full of jaw-dropping opportunity, but which way ensures nine billion people will always have drinking water?

These are the stories that fill you with awe at the brilliance and tenacity of people to fulfill a powerful purpose.

Why you should ask for, and listen to story

Asking for and listening to a story is a skill.  But if by doing so, you can make the right connections, provide the right service, plug the hole, or stop the pain, then you too have played a part in changing our world for the better.

PowerPitch & Presentation communication training helps academics, professionals and entrepreneurs to present the impact of their work based on purpose-driven contextualized storytelling.  It is also about why and how to ask for, and listen to story. 

The training starts with understanding the context for telling your stories, why, to whom, your intention and your value.

The same goes for when you ask and listen to stories.  You have to have a context for doing so, and be in a genuine position to assist, for it to work to engage others, to build trust and recall of your key messages in return.

If you would like to know more about how the training can work for you, please contact me at Sandy@SandyMcdonald.com

A fair exchange of value

The principle of fair exchange and value

A fair exchange of value

 

I once heard Sue Barratt speak on fair exchange and value. She is an expert in sales as the publisher of 21 books and 500 articles on the world of 21stcentury selling. Her organization is accredited for putting the profession of selling on the university agenda.

‘Selling is everybody’s business & everybody lives by selling something’,she says.

At the time, even after being in business for decades, hearing this made me anxious, But Sue persuaded me my anxiety was ill founded. What many of us spend our time doing, creating relationships, building trust, earning a dialogue, listening, and giving a service was she said, just a fair exchange of value.

We stand at the centre of a dialogue

‘Once selling was a monologue with your customer. Now we stand at the centre of a dialogue where you exchange something of value — your capability, your experience and your ability to facilitate a service for others’, she explained. Because what a client wants from you is ‘to deal with a professional, to expect to be helped, to have business acumen, and to display conceptual thinking.’

In light of this, she asked, ‘how are you managing your message?’

Reflecting back on these insights years later through the lens of storytelling as a communication tool, I can see it has powerful role to play in the art of a fair exchange.

You can only tell contextualized purposeful stories of your value, if you have engaged in self-appraisal, are self aware, and are open to being reflective. These attributes are each critical to finding and developing self-directed purpose and to unearthing the stories that matter and can serve.

Listening to other’s stories is as relevant to being a good storyteller as telling them. Both form connections and serve to align customers and suppliers.

Good storytelling facilitates a fair exchange, persuading your listener of your capability, your value and your willingness to co-operate — all hallmarks of trust building. They sell for you without selling because first they serve.

This is an example of a curated story.

If you want to improve your ability to communicate your value as a fair exchange, or find out more about curated storytelling, click here for details of PowerPacked Pitch and Presentation communication training.  

 

Inside a big talk when the pressure is on

A conversation with two TEDx speakers and an international speaker

What does it take to do a big talk?

We’re talking about a TEDx talk, a career changing keynote, or a launch into a speaking career – perhaps the most nerve-wracking of all.

Recently, I spent an afternoon in a spirited conversation with the effervescent Lisa Leong who did a fabulous Melbourne TEDx talk in 2017, ‘Can Robots make us more human’, and the vivacious Yamini Naidu, international speaker, storyteller and comedian.

The result is a dense, insight-filled three way conversation we’ve called, ‘Inside a Big Talk – Mastering the Challenge when the Pressure is on’

A forensic approach

Lisa, Yamini and I dissected every aspect of what’s needed to meet the challenge of not just a big talk, but one that is powerful, compelling and engaging especially when you’re under pressure.

During our 40 minute discussion, Lisa told the background story, we covered the importance of the meta story, and we spoke a lot about the importance of story itself to hold attention and create empathy.

We introduced micro story as a way in which you can paint an emotive image in just a few sentences.

We examined the structure of a great talk, and why you must get to clarity of message. Then we dug into some nitty gritty technicalities, discussing language, cadence and performance. All of this working toward presenting the audience with an idea worth sharing.

Watch the whole rich 40 minutes. It’s full of insight for anyone doing a big talk or wanting to speak.

Please let us know in the comments what you learned and would like to hear more about.  We’d love to hear from you.

How stories inspire people to think, act and buy

How do stories inspire people?

What’s the record attendance for which event at the Melbourne Cricket Ground?

You might take a stab at 100,000 plus for an historic Australia versus England Test match, or a Carlton – Collingwood Grand Final. You wouldn’t be even close.

It’s still a Billy Graham preach-a-thon. Upwards of 130,000 people crammed Australia’s cathedral of sport to hear the master speaker tell his stories they wanted to be inspired by.

How do you inspire people to think, act, or buy? Do a Google search and at the top of the search is an article that starts with … ‘Let me tell you a story.’

SmartCompany says marketers’ most common complaint is ‘Why don’t prospects get what I’m saying?’

SmartCompany also says the biggest inhibitors to brilliant sales are dehumanizing jargon and statistics. Genuine storytelling has re-emerged from decades of silence as every business’s most effective and inspiring sales weapon.

Where attention is our rarest commodity, Forbes magazine reminds us that successful communication must have these six attributes: appeal, clarity, directness, stickiness, credibility, and transparency.

Hello great and inspiring storytelling.

Can’t do it?

When you were a child, you couldn’t swim, ride a bike, play an instrument, speak another language. Great storytelling’s a skill. You can learn it, and get to love it.

Uncovering your stories, and learning to share them with people who want to hear them is real and do-able, not warm and fuzzy.

Why you’re here, and what you stand for

When you know and love your story, others see you through a different lens. They learn who you are through the windows of your eyes. You spotlight your principles and values. Your beliefs announce themselves loud and proud. You show you’re a leader and you demonstrate all the hallmarks of trust – competency, capability, disclosure, transparency, and authenticity.

You need a little courage to begin, just as you did getting on that bike, or jumping into that pool. And it’s never too late to line up your essential ducks — purpose, principles, people, product and positioning — and get them flying in unison so you can tell stories that inspire.

Becoming a good storyteller is a reward in itself. The bonus is it demonstrates leadership and gets your message across. Great stories make people listen, remember, and act.

If you would like to learn how stories inspire people, you can book the next PowerPacked Stories workshop here.  Or how to use story powerfully in your pitch, check out our next city-based workshops here.