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The Business Case for Telling Personal Stories
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The Business Case for Telling Personal Stories

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Telling Personal Stories to Improve Lives and Leadership.

Telling Personal Stories to Improve Lives and Leadership.

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  • Big Ed and the Body BraceI have a personal example of a time this became true in my own life. I had been working on negotiating the licensing of my personalized children’s book with a big online personalized site. I had provided the data and documentation as to why the licensing would make the online site money many times over. And, the people I was negotiating with at every turn had given me a roadblock. So, the next round, instead of providing more data, I responded with a story. A personal story. A story that made me vulnerable. A story that featured my human weakness. A story with heart and a story truth. The story I shared was the following:  When I was in junior high I wore a scoliosis brace. Today, braces are so sleek and slim, one hardly notices them. Back when I wore a brace, it had big metal bars in the front and back that reached up to my chin. One of the best memories I have of wearing my brace is of a boy in my grade called, “Big Ed.” Between classes, Big Ed would pick me up by my bars and lift me like rolled yoga mat over his big head. I’d watch below me the hive of smaller heads shift in the hall as he carried and set me down gently at the door of my next class. Two years of Big Ed hauling me around in my brace and the doctor said I’d need to have surgery. The spring of my eight-grade year, I had a metal rod surgically wired to my spine. After, I was in a body cast flipped over every two hours for two weeks. The only memory I have of those weeks was begging for pain medication. When I finally slid out of the body cast -- I used a walker, weighed 52 pounds, and had no padding on the balls of my toes. That very next crackly leafed fall, six months later, I ran cross-country and was one of five freshmen in Minnesota to qualify individually for the state high school cross-country meet. My doctor had told me, over and over again, it couldn’t be done. The truth in this story is there are always a million reasons why something can’t be done and why something won’t work. However, the truth is if you try, it just might happen.  Sharing this personal story changed the tone and depth and pitch of our negotiating conversations. The next month, my personalized children’s book was featured on that big personalized .com site.  Sharing the Power of StorytellingOnce I realized how personal stories opened me to opportunities and experiences I wouldn’t otherwise have found, I wanted to share this idea with others. Storytelling comes natural to all of us – it’s the oldest form of communication -- and we all have our own natural storytelling gifts and style. However, what makes one story snap its’ fingers and shake its’ head while another story folds its’ knees to the ground? This is the question that compelled me to research -- to find the formula of the exact story elements that added together in a way like 2 + 2 = 4 and out plops a perfect story. I found many books and articles and many story elements of truth and of struggle, of heroes and of villains, of uniting and of igniting, but not one concise formula of how to create and tell a story. I, then, created a personal story formula myself.
  • Romeo and Juliet Storytelling formula gives us a framework on how to create and tell stories.One of my executive clients I am coaching told me he’s having a hard time reconnecting and engaging with clients he already has to generate more business. His problem is he’s not sure how to tell a good “Who am I story” He’s not sure how to talk about himself without sounding like he is bragging or even what interesting parts of him to include in the his who am I story. So I interviewed him about his values and customer stories and personal things about him. Some of the to his questions had so much energy, they jumped out at me and other things he talked about seemed tired, the same data or parts of stories he’s told for too long. Together we wrote a story portfolio or 3 different who am I using only the responses that had so much energy and life. He practiced the stories in his office, in his mirror, in the car on the way home from work. Three weeks later, we got back together for a session and we we leaned into his natural storytelling gifts which are calmness, steadiness, trustworthiness, loyalty and then we worked on incorporating some nonverbal elements that he wasn’t as comfortable with doing. Last week he presented to a group of 300 people at the Direct Marketing Conference in Las Vegas and he said he received excellent feedback on his pres.Scripted presentation for service renewals. At the same point in every presentation, she felt the energy drain from presentation and the client and even herself was bored with the what was being said. So we worked together in the areas where she felt the energy drain and we built stories with the data she was required to present. Since she started using stories in her presentations, three clients upgraded their service renewals.
  • Romeo and Juliet resonate as the best love story of all time because of unpredictable vulnerability, which is the heart of every great story. Romeo and Juliet storytelling model teaches business leaders how to think in love stories and how to create and tell their own business love stories.What does it mean to “think in love stories?” I think it means finding the pulpy, vulnerable heart or truth of the story. The story truth is what creates the emotional connection and ignites a greater purpose. For example, the hearty pulp of Apple’s creation story -- Jobs and Wozniak toiling in a garage -- inspires a love connection and champions Apple, not only as a business with products, but as something with a robust heartbeat. Jim Signorelli says, “Stories clothe truths.” Romeo and Juliet’s storytelling vine makes it easy to find the truth and heart of the business story.
  • Creation Stories – “Who am I” and “Who are We Stories.”Value Stories – “How we work” and “What we believe.”Vision Stories – “Where are we going?”
  • Most people tell story snap shots – a glimpse or glimmer of a story. Even Jobs and Wozniak toiling in the garage, is a story glimmer. The way to move business conversations to something lusty is to tell more than a story glimmer. A true business love story is a complete drama. I like to visualize a complete, vivid story using the six elements of the Romeo and Juliet storytelling model.
  • Story Setup: The current realities of the story. The family feud of Montague and Capulet families is the setup to Romeo and Juliet falling in forbidden love.Hero/Villain – The hero is you, your services or products. The villain is the person or thing you fight against. Romeo and Juliet are the heroes. The villain is the family feud that prevents them from being together.Struggle – The climax of your story. The unpredictable struggle is Romeo and Juliet killing themselves for love.Story Finale – The finale ignites to action around a new reality. The finale inspired Montague and Capulet families to join hands and end the family feud after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Struggle – The climax of your story. The unpredictable struggle is Romeo and Juliet killing themselves for love.Story Finale – The finale ignites to action around a new reality. The finale inspired Montague and Capulet families to join hands and end the family feud after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Struggle – The climax of your story. The unpredictable struggle is Romeo and Juliet killing themselves for love.Story Finale – The finale ignites to action around a new reality. The finale inspired Montague and Capulet families to join hands and end the family feud after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.This is by no means the end to plot outlines. Possible others include Egregious Greed, Revenge, Against All Odds, Deliverance From Evil, and more. But no matter which plot you find yourself leaning toward, the storylines must introduce choices, put the characters in difficult positions and allow them to make believable choices that direct the story’s outcome. These points concern the technical structure of a story. Use them as a skeleton and add life by using emotion, rich characterization and fascinating settings. Use minor and major climaxes, building to the final major climax and revelation that leaves the main character changed in the end. Storytelling is a craft that has existed as long as humankind. Some people verbalize their stories while others write them down. The most successful ones are those that know how to capture their audience’s attention.
  • Lastly, how do you tell your business love story? I think telling the business love story involves staging the business love story in three connecting love “acts.” These acts connect the storyteller to the story listener.
  • I’m really greatfulth
  • Transcript

    • 1. Loneliness and Love Stories:The Business Case for Telling Personal Stories
    • 2. Great leaders tell personal stories  Session Deliverables“2012 is the year of thestory… 3M is one that is  Discover why business leaders are looking for a new story.using storytelling best…” Fast Company  Find out how companies like Pfizer, American Girl Doll, and Tiffany & Co. are using stories to drive revenue.  Learn the three types of stories and how to create a business story using a story format.
    • 3. Big Edand the Body Brace Storytelling comes natural to all of us – we all have our gifts and style. Stories activate the mind in ways that make listeners fell like they are having a visual, tactile and kinetic experience What makes one stand on its two feet, sway its hips, and move the conversation forward in the manner that the storyteller desires?
    • 4. Why business leadersare looking for a new story Moving to a conceptual age. Creativity increases ROI. Increase in loneliness. Desire for stewardship, intimacy, and meaning to make the world a better place.
    • 5. Two More –Stories Increase ROI Pfizer – using personal stories to increase sales. American Girl – personal stories behind the dolls. Tiffany & Co. – “What makes True Love” organic personal story campaign.
    • 6. Romeo andJuliet story formula We all have our own storytelling gifts and style. Improve your business conversations by:  Thinking in compelling stories.  Creating a compelling story.  Telling a compelling story. “What people really want from their business conversations is a juicy love story.” Peter Drucker
    • 7. Think in love stories: First find the story truth Analysis: The heart of every great story is vulnerability. Why Romeo and Juliet resonates as the greatest love story of all time. Story Truth: What is the meaning or truth of the story? This is what creates the emotional connection and ignites a greater purpose.
    • 8. Next:Choose story type
    • 9. Start with a story glimmer “Jobs and Wozniak toiling in garage”  A snap shot or a glimpse  Incomplete story, just the start of a good story  Most people have and use story glimmer’s everyday
    • 10. Create yourbusiness love story  Story Setup:  Current realities/who, what, where of the story.  Hero/Villain:  Hero is you, your services or products. Villain is the person or thing you fight against.
    • 11. Create yourbusiness love story  Struggle:  Climax of your story.  Story Finale:  Ending ignites to action around a new reality.
    • 12. Create yourbusiness love story  Struggle:  Climax of your story.  Story Finale:  Ending ignites to action around a new reality.
    • 13. Tell your storyin three easy love acts  Invite: Propose Story. Think of this act as an offering and a gift to the listener.  Unite: Bond Together. This act is what you say and do so the listener bonds to you and the story truth.  Ignite: Marry in Action. This act is how the listener is compelled by the story to act in a new and different way.
    • 14. Some words forInviting, Uniting and Igniting  Invite – Offer  “Let me tell you a story.” “Last week…” “That reminds me…” “Did I ever tell you about…”  Unite – Bond  A repeated phrase that unites you with the Guy. “Romeo! Romeo! Where for art thou?”  Ignite – Act  Use words that include what we can see, taste, touch, hear, and smell. These types of words compel listener to action.
    • 15. Story checklist for improving conversations Pick the type of  Start with a Story  Think in Love story to tell. Glimmer. Stories and find the Story Truth.  Create using  Tell the Love Story the Romeo in 3 Love Acts. and Juliet Story Vine.
    • 16. The heart of everygreat story is vulnerability Use Romeo and Juliet story formula to:  Think in stories to improve your conversations.  Create your own stories.  Tell your stories to invite, unite, and ignite your clients, customers, coworkers to create a new reality. Thank you, Michelle