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How to make stories work for compelling communication

Do you solve issues that impact on others beneficially? Here are 8 powerpacked masterclass modules to make your stories work to powerfully communicate it.

A discourteous world

Surviving a discourteous world

A discourteous world

Dealing with a discourteous world

My brain went AWOL for eight days early one New Year and it wasn’t pleasant.   Nor was the virus I had rampaging around the rest of my body.

On the eighth night at 10pm, it returned. It had a lot to tell me.  It spoke in urgent tones for four hours.  There was no shutting it up and the message was clear.

Life is precious.  My brain said, ‘You must not in anyway deal any longer with dross’.

The baggage of regret unearthed by ingrates and their discourtesy is ‘inertia.’

Time to take up the cudgels against discourtesy in business, because I believe that no one should have to do business with another who doesn’t want to know, or worse chooses not to see an exchange of value.

Such behaviour is mischievous, driven by the need to pay little, less or even nothing.

Old fashioned as it might seem, courtesy remains the lynch pin of decent business behavior and transactions.  It was once a normal way to conduct any value transaction.

The pace of our digital world – emails, mobiles, SMSs, an over supply of self promoting consultant specialists in every field, and a plethora of grudge purchases, —yes, I know I must have a website, safety review, exit strategy, marketing campaign and the rest— may have all contributed to its demise.

In its wake, what’s left is much more pervasive than a dose of the dreaded scarcity virus.  It’s the equivalent of business Ebola.   People languish in anxiety, depression and despair in its path and if they recover, the effects are long lasting and destructive.

Six steps to survive and prosper in a discourteous world

To survive and prosper you must immunise yourself against the virus.  It’s not enough to inoculate yourself with your talent, experience and expertise.

Get clear

Nothing you do will work to elevate you beyond the dross if you’re not super clear about why you do what you do and for whom.

Without that clarity, no matter how good you are at what you do, discourtesy will envelop and unpick you at the seams, because it speaks of a much greater problem.  You are not where you should be, doing the work you should be doing.

Lose the delusion

‘If I ‘m honest, work hard and bring my talents and expertise to bear, the client will value me and pay me accordingly’.

No.  They won’t.  That is a delusion.

Without complete clarity around what you deliver in what timeframe and for what cost, they will come to distrust you and your offer.

Even if you’re creative and work in a field that is as hard to pin down as a forest full of feral cats, you must be an absolute stickler at defining the exact value and cost of the work you are going to do.  Then review and update your progress consistently and without ambivalence.

When there is scope creep as there usually is in any complex project, make sure you communicate it directly.

Don’t do what you are bad at

Herein lies the rub for most solo-preneurs.  It’s the Peter Principle.  Good at what ever it is that you offer, that doesn’t necessarily make you a whizz at admin or rigorous with attention to detail.  Chances are that if you’re creative, you’ll suck at the latter.

Find your yin.  Find the person who relishes what you don’t and do this business together.  Or employ them.  Don’t spend your life trying to do what ever it is you’re bad at.

The client will end up spilling bile, even if what you’ve delivered is fabulous. They will stick on the typo, or the extras or that you didn’t reply within the same day.  No point railing about it.  It just is.  Don’t do it.

Say no

Every business development person, every business blogger, every workshop on how to run your business rolls this mantra out until your eyes swivel and disappear down the back of your throat with I KNOW, I goddam KNOW.

I KNOW, I must say NO.

But sure enough, along comes a client.  Along comes the instinct that says, this doesn’t feel right; they’re not right, my product is not the right fit, they don’t have the budget.  Running in tandem comes the desire to make the money, because you have bills to pay, retirement to plan for, a life you want to live.

So you don’t say no, and they’re always right.  If you don’t say no when your gut tells you, you’ll lose money and worse, you’ll be scarred by the discourtesy.

Your life is precious.  It’s not worth the dollars.  It’s not worth the scarring.  It’s not worth a single cell of your energy.

Partner, don’t supply

You’re not a supplier.  You’re not a service provider.  You’re a collaborator in helping others achieve what they need to succeed.   Real partners are not discourteous.  They’re respectful and caring.

How many clients who would love and value you, and want to have you as a partner to their success, do you need to earn what you need?

You best work then is to find these people.

Then offer them a brilliant solution for exactly the problems you know they have to become their trusted and desired business partner.

Tell your stories

If you’re clear on why you do what you do, you should also be clear on your principles for delivering it and the stories that support your value.

When you know why you’re telling your stories to whom, and for what intention, your listeners will engage, connect, listen and recall your key messages.

A good storyteller rarely invites discourtesy.

If you would like some clarity counselling about any how to deal with a discourteous world, please contact me sandy@sandymcdonald.com

what you believe in

Do you fail to sell what you believe in?

what you believe in

In 2011, I wrote a guide – Build Your Own WordPress Site and Blog Brilliantly.

It was exactly the product I’d needed when I built Knit-a-square.com in 2008, which kick-started a worldwide community. They have since sent over 2 million knitted squares for blankets to warm orphaned children in South Africa.

Isn’t this how many of us create products? Replicating exactly what we needed before we put in years of sweat equity to work it out for ourselves?

I’ve asked others, ‘Do you believe in what you know and that it can change people’s lives for the better?’   A coach once asked me, ‘Aren’t you doing a disservice then by not selling your knowledge?’

I sat on this guide, unable to convince myself that it could be of service.  I asked the question too often, ‘who am I to write about this? — even though at the time, people were clamouring to know how to do both.

By the time, I came to think differently about my value and how I could tell the stories about it that would make a difference, you could build a site with a click of a button, long form posting (as in blogging) had been surpassed by updates and videos, and no amount of organic Search Engine Optimisation would bring hoards of interested folk to your site.  It felt like the product was redundant.

It may be, but the principles remain —clarity of purpose and principles, deep curiosity about those you aim to serve, clear intentions and knowing how to pass on your value.  These are the essential ingredients for purpose-driven contextualized storytelling.

Today, I’m delighted to promote this message.

If you’d like to get clarity of purpose and principles, and explore your people, product, platform and positioning so you can tell the right stories about your value, contact me: http://sandymcdonald.com/clarity-works/
Finding a good teacher is all about clarity

Go the good teacher

Finding a good teacher is all about clarity

Finding a good teacher is not always easy.

Back in the early wave of ‘internet marketers’, there were the ‘hype type’ who made a lot of money quickly. Apparently, they had a communal epiphany, which resulted in them speaking in the same tongue.

‘I was poor, I slept in my car. Look here I am in front of my mansion/Disney Land with my kids/the Eiffel Tower. Here’s my bank statement showing my monthly six digit earnings . . . buy me, and my teaching and you too can make millions.

After a few rather heartbreaking and expensive encounters, I started a quest to find the ‘real deal’ — a real teacher.  The first person I found was David Jenyns.  He taught me enough in one short three-hour video about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to leverage that knowledge into what I was doing back then.

If you’ve been blessed to have a good teacher you’ll have told stories about them because they changed your life.

They have deep but clear knowledge and the desire to share it. They listen and over-deliver in their answers.  They’re happy to hold your hand over the tricky bits.  They’re excited by their field of expertise and articulate their insights clearly.  They want your success and will work toward it.

They have a purpose, and they tell great stories that illustrate, illuminate and excite.

Go the good teachers.

Finding clarity is often about finding a good teacher.  What do you need clarity in?  visit sandymcdonald.com/clarity-works and contact me for a ‘Let’s Talk’ session.
clarity at work

Clarity at work saving time

clarity at workThere is nothing better than seeing clarity at work, because it’s the little things you get clear on changing that can make a significant impact.

Waiting for a meeting in a small coffee shop – you know the sort, small, crowded, and noisy with people in animated discussion, it’s clear I’ve been stood up.

I’d let people down inadvertently. Too busy to write the details in my phone calendar or in a diary, mistakenly believing I’d remember. So I’m not in anyway irritable with my would-be meeting partner. In any case, she has phoned with sincere apologies.

Instead I pen this update to see if it will cement another of life’s small but irreducible lessons.

I’m wedded to my paper diary, which has made using a digital calendar problematic. That doesn’t preclude sending a 30 second message the day before to confirm, or as often happens I’m contacted in advance anyway. Either way it’s a win!

Small changes in life like these are clarity at work, in this case, that nobody should have to waste time waiting, or rescheduling.

This was in 2010. I’ve only been left at the table alone once since then so this small evidence of clarity at work has saved hundreds of hours. I wonder what price one could put on that.

Clarity at work is all about the big stuff you most need to get clear on to move forward — purpose, principles, people, product, positioning, and philanthropy.  And sometimes the small stuff.  Like saving time.

If you’d like a healthy dose of clarity at work, book a Let’s Talk session by emailing me at sandy@sandymcdonald.com