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- Body Language and Gestures,
- Career Development,
- Customer Service,
- Elevator Speech or Mission Statement,
- Human Behavior,
- Marketing Communications,
- Messaging and Content Development,
- Networking and Relationship Building,
- Professional Speaking,
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President John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
Take a moment and think about the leaders you know. Leaders of industry, thought, government, sports and your community…the people who inspire us to give our very best are the ones who do not assume they know everything. They know they will make mistakes from time to time. And they trust the people they lead to help them when they ask for answers to some of their toughest challenges.
Leaders who are lifelong learners are approachable. They ask questions and they encourage open and honest feedback. They foster a culture where team members tell them what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. They encourage others to take risks and they embrace each failure as an opportunity to learn.
A commitment to lifelong learning. Few attributes define the character of a leader more than this one.
I have come to learn and be a fan of The American Freedom Foundation several years ago.Its "mission is to honor the men and women of America’s armed forces, raise awareness for their service and sacrifice and raise money for organizations that serve and support our Veterans, active duty military and their families." AFF has partnered with AUSA to hold a Warriors to the Workforce event at its annual convention in the Washingont, DC area Oct 21 to Oct 23.
Guy Timberlake, CEO, of The American Small Business Coalition, (I'm a member) connected me to AFF. I'll be presenting on 10/23 a program on the importance of your personal "Tell me about yourself" story and business storytelling in general.
The event is free of charge.
American Freedom Foundation’s Warriors to the Workforce
Hiring Event at AUSA Announces Workshop Sessions
12 Workshop sessions will take place at October 21 – 23 to provide resources and information for veterans and transitioning military
The Warriors to The Workforce Hiring Event presented by SourceAmerica™ during the 2013 AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition at the Washington DC Convention Center on October 21 – 23, 2013 will include workshops featuring some of the top speakers in the country providing resources and information for veterans and transitioning military.
Presentations will include topics such as mental readiness, confidence building, networking and presentation skills, resume writing, interviewing techniques, job searching, career planning through goal setting, translating military skills and training into civilian life and corporate experience, among others.
In addition to these transition workshops, veterans will have the opportunity to meet with some of the country’s largest and most veteran friendly employers including ADS, Inc., Aerotek, ATK, Inc. BAE Systems, Ball Aerospace, Calibre, Camber, CSC, EMCOR, ESRI, First Command, Fluor, General Dynamics Information Technology, Geneva Software, HP, Kaplan, Kelly Services, L-?3 National Security Solutions, Lockheed Martin, Marriott International, Navy Federal Credit Union, Northrop Grumman, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, SAIC, SourceAmerica, Troops Into Transportation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Verizon, Vets Group and Veterans Administration.
The Latino Hotel and Restaurant Association, LHRA, is on of the preeminent organizations representing the business interests of Latino hotel owners, operators and developers. Internationally, members own and operate hotels representing more than 20,000 rooms, employing over 15,000 individuals, and whose assets are valued at more than $2 billion.
Over 300 people from the US, Mexico, Central and South America will be attend. Members are influential, decision-making executives.
If you are in the hotel or restaurant industry, join me and hundreds of professionals from around the world. I will be delivering Thursday morning's keynote, "Get Funded: Design and Deliver the Perfect Investor Pitch."
Top 5 Reasons to Attend
1. Forecasting. We cannot predict the weather in Florida, but our expert speakers and panelists can make educated predictions on how they think hotels and restaurants will preform in 2014!
2. Education. Two action packed days of presentations and panels focusing on industry trends that will help attendees boost their performance.
3. Networking with colleagues. Mix with other successful hospitality business professionals at our unique receptions and breaks.Last year we had a chefs competition to close the event...this year savory dishes will kick it off!
4. Legacy Building. Join LHRA as they hosts this year's Battle of the Brands - High Stakes Golf Tournament to support Latino students seeking careers in the hospitality industry! Compete in this stimulating golf tournament and help us raise money for student scholarships!!!
5. Industry Recognition. Meet owners, operators, developers and industry suppliers who have proven themselves worthy of LHRA recognition at this year's Estrella Awards!
To read other articles in The Chief Storyteller Blog, select the category, Articles.
Great Leaders are Great Storytellers: Five Tips to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness
Copyright © The Chief Storyteller ® LLC. All rights reserved.
Ira J. Koretsky
July 2013, Published with The Latino Hotel and Restaurant Association (LHRA)
With today’s communications so fast and furious, do you have the time to really process the multitude of messages demanding your attention? Of course you don’t. You pick and choose based on what resonates.
So as a leader who has to communicate your own vision, how then do you ensure your messages resonate and generate the right actions? By surrounding them with compelling personal stories. Together, they make a business story.
If you were to look back over your career at the leaders that inspired you, I would bet part of what makes you smile when you think of them was their ability to connect to both your heart and your mind. Truly, only through business stories can you accomplish both.
During my career, two leaders have really stood out. When I think of Mike C. and Colonel M., I smile and remember fondly my time working with each of them. They stand out because of how each treated me—they were great listeners, they were great advisors, and they were great supporters. Over 26 years later, I am still friends with Mike C. Unfortunately, I lost track of Colonel M. when I left the US Army.
Why did Mike and the Colonel make such powerful and indelible impressions? Our shared experiences. Experiences define us. And it’s the stories we share about these experiences that help shape the world around us. We live through each other’s stories. The best stories have several key characteristics. They are simple; are easily understood; have immediate resonance; are delivered passionately; and have a positive outcome or learning experience.
Great leaders are great storytellers.
Whether you are speaking at a small, informal meeting; in front of investors; or before thousands at a shareholder’s meeting, use these five tips to improve your own business storytelling.
Identify the One Thing You Want them to Remember
Ensure your business story has only one key message. In the absence of a clear message, audience members will either forget what you said or create their own interpretation. Think of your message as a headline—about seven words in length. To see the potential power of a headline, try this: Type a phrase into your favorite search engine. You will be greeted with hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of pithy, short phrases all vying for your “click me” action. Which one will you click?
“Texture” Your Story
Use a variety of language styles. Imagine you were in an audience listening to some of our greatest contemporary storytellers. They use a variety of techniques and styles such as metaphors, alliteration, and repetition. Be deliberate in your word choices. Be deliberate in using character dialogue. Be deliberate with your rhetorical devices (by way of example, starting several consecutive sentences with the same words is a repetition figure of speech called “anaphora”).
Make the Journey Relevant
Make your story pass the “so what” test. Invite your audience into your experience by sharing the WIIFM?What’s In It For Me. Well-told stories create a shared experience, which enables your listeners to understand your business message on a personal level. Your words should crystallize common values and experiences. Be sure to answer the audience’s question of “Why is this important to me?”
Only Share the Good Parts
Edit ruthlessly. You have at most, three minutes to share your business story. Don’t think the whole story has to be shared. It doesn’t. And it shouldn’t. Instead, rethink how you tell your story in a business setting. Typical personal stories told at parties involve boring parts. Lots of boring parts, with the good parts interspersed. The good parts make your story interesting. If you need a little help identifying the good parts, ask your friends and colleagues for feedback. Or next time you tell a favorite story, listen for questions and look for favorable body language. Now edit or omit everything else. Then texture your words around the good parts.
It’s All About Them
Once you have identified your stories, think carefully about the words you are using. Words conjure feelings and emotions. The words you use and the stories you tell can elicit positive and negative feelings equally well. Words and stories have context and perspective. Many words have multiple meanings, and tone and delivery can be understood?or misunderstood?in a variety of ways. For example, the expression “You’re crazy,” can be playful, argumentative, or even condescending.
Leaders are constantly looked to for guidance and advice. Remember it’s all about them? It’s all about your audience. So Mr./Ms. Leader, what personal stories are you telling to inspire action? Do your audiences respond the way you intended?
With our easy global access to diverse cultures and experiences, your words and stories matter to those around you more than ever before. Be deliberate with the stories you tell and the messages you share. Follow the advice of famous novelist Joseph Conrad: “I have no use for engines. Give me the right word...and I will move the world.”
In an instant, I can always tell what my experience is going to be with a brand, company or organization I am interacting with for the first time. In most cases, I can see it. Where I cannot see it, I can hear it. And regardless of whether I can see or hear it, I can almost always feel it. In a word, it’s a smile.
A smile is contagious. It starts with your employees and how they greet one another at the beginning of their work day. It extends to how they greet your customers at every touch point in their experience with your brand, company or organization. You don’t need a magnifying glass to observe it. And you won’t see it measured on any report. You will, however, know it when you see it.
So the next time someone asks you to look into improving your customer experience, start where it matters…at the beginning. How are your employees greeting one another? How often do they smile when they are at work? Can you see the smiles on their faces? Or hear them in their voices? Or feel them by their presence?
Remember, all great customer experiences begin with a smile.
I read an article by best-selling author and syndicated columnist Harvey Mackay (“Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive”) in the Washington Business Journal the other day where he cited research that shows “buyers are not reaching out to contact salespeople and sales organizations until they’re 60-70 percent along in the decision process.”
The simple truth is customers are doing their homework. They are going online and researching the answers to their needs and problems. They are forming opinions on who they think can best help them. Then they are reaching out to sellers for the one thing they cannot get online – a better price.
This is where the value of preparation comes into play. In today’s selling environment, salespeople need to provide value by telling buyers something they don’t already know…answers to questions like:
• What makes you and your products different?
• How can you and your products help me?
• How do you know you can help me?
The sellers who can answer these questions with thoughtful and relevant responses are the ones who are most likely to make the sale, often commanding a price premium even in today’s market. Those who cannot are the ones who will most often find themselves responding to RFPs, attempting to sell highly commoditized products at the lowest price.
I received this advertisment from Flickr. I like the content, style, layout, and message.
I would prefer to see a smiling person(s) instead of a flower. The message, in bold white letters, is "Smile." If the folks at Flickr really want to use a flower (assuming a connection to Spring), then use smiling people holding flowers or running in a field.
Your photography and imagery should always match the picture. Otherwise you run the risk of creating messaging disconnects. Messaging disconnects reduce click-throughs, success of call-to-action buttons, signups, purchases, and so forth.
In a few weeks, I will attend my 30th college reunion at Fairfield University. It’s hard to believe so many years have gone by since I received my undergraduate degree in Marketing and said goodbye to the place that had been home for four great years.
As I scanned photos of this year’s commencement activities on the University’s Facebook and Instagram pages the other day, it was easy to take myself back in time. I remember thinking on graduation day I had made it. I did it. I had become one of my family's first-generation college graduates. I had no idea what the future would hold. All I had at that point were fond memories, lessons learned from my undergraduate studies and the promise of an uncertain future.
Thirty years later, the feeling I had on graduation day remains with me. I did it. Along with my wife, I have since raised a family, earned an MBA, built two successful careers in business, given back to my community in countless ways and have reconnected to many of my college friends and the place I once called home.
I’ve applied many of the lessons I learned at Fairfield over the last thirty years. Of these, I think the most important is this – in everything you do, always remember to make it about “them.” The people who tend to be the most successful in life are the best listeners. They are sincere, open, honest and responsive to others. They are team players and treat others the way they would like to be treated. They respect the people in their lives and spend time getting to know, understand and appreciate them.
As I look back now and think about it, this is probably the one big lesson the Jesuit Fathers and my other college professors hoped I would take away from my undergraduate experience. You see, making it about “them” is not only the foundation of great marketing, it’s a big part of the Jesuit commitment to service and social justice.
I am a huge fan of audio books. On the plane, in the car, and on the subway I am catching up on my favorite business books and for pleasure books. A colleague introduced me to John Scalzi, who is primarily a sci-fi writer. As I do every time with new authors, I read reviews on Amazon, biographies on Wikipedia and Amazon, and ask the referrering person more about style and substance.
Reading John's bio on Amazon really piqued my interest. Reading the bio shows me he's a bit wry, funny, well-liked (he's won several awards), and has an interesting call-to-action at the end.
John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you're reading this, makes perfect sense. He's best known for writing science fiction, for which he won the John W. Campbell Award (2006) and has been nominated for the Hugo Award for best novel (2006, 2008, 2009). He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, and was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word "Whatever" into Google. No, seriously, try it.
I indeed typed "Whatever" into Google and John's blog came up first. I'm convinced. Now I have to figure out which book to read first.
Moral of the story: If you have a personal bio on your website, LinkedIn profile, speaker one sheet, etc., have you considered, seriously considered changing it? Most bios are factual and chronological splashed at the end with the "Ira's married to the love of his life, has a wonderful daughter, and enjoys photography in his spare time." When I thought conservative was better, I didn't stand out. Today, my bio helps me more memorable and more engaging. My bio gives people reasons and opportunities to talk with me more about my background.
Try changing your bio....even if it is just a little.
Postscript 1: I just looked at his LinkedIn page and this is his first sentence in his Summary: "I write. I edit. I get paid. I fight crime! I lied about that last one."
Postscript 2: Some people asked that I include my bio. The bio is available as a PDF on The Chief Storyteller website, is included with my speaking engagements, has a variation on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter, is included in proposals, and the list goes on. People always ask me about something in the bio.
“Think deliberately.” The mantra of a person who has made improving communications his life’s work.
It all began some 30 years ago, at a high school science fair. Ira had presented his computer program on the heart and the circulatory system. One by one, the prizes were announced...third...second...first place. After nearly 100 hours of programming evenings and weekends, he slumped his shoulders and thought to himself, “I lost.” Then...Ira heard the chairwoman announce, “We are awarding the grand prize to a young man who could sell me my own pair of shoes!” And his name was called.
For more than 26 years nationally and internationally, Ira has been building his communication skills into a well-honed set of precision instruments. Within minutes, he will fundamentally change the way you communicate.
His most pivotal experience was serving as a public affairs officer in the United States Army Medical Service Corps. Trained in giving and preparing presentations for military and civilian executives, he gained invaluable insights into messaging, communications, and storytelling.
Living on both coasts, Ira has held various leadership roles in marketing and product management. After earning his MBA from the University of Maryland in 2000, Ira entered into the world of leading edge technology. It was while working in San Francisco and Silicon Valley he began to adapt his skills for use with the new, technology-driven tools today’s professionals have come to rely on.
And like all good communicators, Ira loves the stage. He performed improvisational humor professionally with ComedySportz in a career spanning 12 years and more than 1,000 shows. While performing, Ira had this epiphany: “improv mirrors life.” Life experiences stem from random and planned connections with people, and it is these experiences that help us to bond quickly with audiences.
Ira is an active blogger and writer, was a guest columnist for the Washington Business Journal, and an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland. He helped the a US government contracting firm win a $94 million multi-year project; Altum develop a proposal that had a 100% success rate in going to the final decision round; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) secure funding for the National Youth Fitness Survey.
Last week I had the honor of being a semi-finalist judge for the The George Wasington University Business Plan Competition. About 35 judges discussed the merits and potential of some 30 business plans. Our focus was to select the eight lucky finalists. These finalists would then pitch on April 19, competing for over $60,000 in cash prizes. We had some passionate discussions, laughed a bit, and in the end, chose some really interesting ideas. I am really looking forward to the presentations next week. If you are interested in attending, the link is at the bottom.
The GW Business Plan Competition, founded five years ago by Florida Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Annette Scott, awards over $60,000 in cash prizes to teams of GW students, faculty and alumni who have innovative ideas for new products and/or services. The Scotts' daughter, Allison Scott Guimard, is an alumna of GW's School of Business, class of 2005.
With 109 submissions from 12 schools at GW, participation has increased significantly over the years. From those initial submissions, 35 student-based teams were invited to write full business plans, and from them, eight teams made it to the GW Business Plan Competition Finals. These eight finalists will present their business plans and ideas to a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists and GW alumni.
Eight student-led teams will present their winning business ideas and compete for over $60,000 in cash prizes during the GW Business Plan Competition. The GW Business Plan Competition Finals are the culmination of a year-long series of educational workshops and active mentorship on new venture creation. Finalists will present their business plans and ideas to a panel of distinguished entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists and GW alumni. In addition, winners from previous years will be present to talk about where they have taken their businesses since securing funding in a previous GW Business Plan Competition. Registration and a full schedule are available here.
Final presentations and awards will take place from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 19. The event is open to GW students, alumni, faculty, staff and members of the general public.
The George Washington University
School of Business
Duques Hall, 6th Floor
2201 G Street, N.W.
If you are planning to attend let me know, we can meet up there for some coffee.
The other day, Geetesh Baraj, PowerPoint MVP and Manager of the "PowerPoint and Presenting Stuff" LinkedIn Group posted the following question to the group. My suggestions follow below...
Creating Slides for Multi-Lingual Audiences
I am researching a blog post topic -- since it is still being researched, anything mentioned below is not set in stone. I am open to all your thoughts and the scenario and the suggestions can be broadly changed as required.
Here is the scenario, and as I said, this is a broad definition that can be changed:
1. You need to create slides for a multi-lingual audience.
2. Everyone in the audience understands English to some extent, but they are not necessarily fluent in the language.
3. The presentation needs to distributed later to audience members -- and some others who were not present at the actual event.
4. Before distribution, the presentation may need to be translated to other languages -- this means that there needs to be some basic amount of text.
What are your thoughts about the use of:
1. Story / Outline: How deep should this be? Should the depth level be low -- will that compromise the content?
2. Text: What level of simplification?
3. Visuals: Should pictures replace text, or complement it?
4. Design and Color: What works best?
I've pondered this several years ago before I started presenting internationally. I have had the honor of conducting programs in 8 countries with six trips involving simultaneous translation. Here are some questions and suggestions.
1. How knowledgeable is the audience? Without knowing your answer, in general, I suggest ~30 to 50% reduction in complexity and content
2) The broad brush suggestion is to translate the presentation and handouts in advance. Bring your own version matched page-for-page with the translated version
3) Find people through your network whom have done business, worked in, or lived in the country/region and solicit feedback
4) Localize--always. For color, fonts, pictures, graphs, words, humor, etc. Some seemingly small things could actually backfire and you may never even know it
5) Consider an appendix or handouts with tips, examples, and how-to's
6) Solicit feedback from the audience afterward. Be gentle as you probe, as some cultures are not forthcoming with what they deem criticism of the speaker
I was at an all-day conference a few days ago. Each of the sessions was a panel. During the second session, one panelist said "That's a great question." Then it became a contagious virus. The second panelist said "That's a great question." And of course, the third panelist followed. Subsequently, EVERY single question was followed by "That's a great question" or something very close. The woman next to me leaned over and said, "I bet that's a great question" and we both laughed and cringed.
This prompted me to write the Tip of Week with the same title. I included the tip below...
Saying “That’s a great question,” detracts from your credibility, no matter what. If you are like some, you use it all the time hoping to make everyone feel positive about asking questions. In this case, no one feels special as it is used every time. And by the third or so time you use it, “great question” sounds disingenuous.
If you say it occasionally, then you alienate those that did not receive a “great question” response…immediately.
Instead, remain neutral throughout your time with your audience. Respond and acknowledge points without tipping the emotional balance.
Here are a few suggested responses after receiving a question:
- Thank you for your question
- Please (and gesture/point to the person encouraging him/her to begin talking)
- Thank you for asking that question
- Yes (and gesture/point to the person encouraging him/her to begin talking)
Follow my logic to really appreciate why practice is an absolute to being successful. Let's use driving a car as our example.
For comparison, let's use the Automobile Manufacturer's average of 12,000. Think of the warranty offered as three years or 36,000 miles.
Thus, we can create an annual number of miles driven chart since age 25.
Age # of Miles
Now, if I asked a 45 year old driver if he/she could beat an Indy 500 race car driver, the answer would be an unequivical "No." How come? The person drove three hunnnndreddd thousssanddd miles.
The reason is clear. Practice.
All too often people spend too little time practicing... practing a presentation, sharing a personal story for business impact, writing powerfully, responding to questions during an investor meeting, conducting an important board meeting, and so forth.
Next time, spend at least a little bit of time practicing. You'll never regret the time spent.
Today I was working with an executive client on her storytelling. Tanya wants to use more stories in her meetings, presentations, networking, etc.
As part of the first step of developing engaging business stories, we develop a story list. This is simply a list of Tanya's favorite stories and a few notes beside each story title.
After sharing a variety of stories, I asked her to rank her favorite ones. When she identified her all-time favorite, I prompted Tanya to share it.
Nearly three minutes into telling it, I identified the "make me care" moment.
During our discussions Tanya agreed that yes, this was the most important part...this was the business take-away.
For you, two suggestions:
1) Shorten your business stories, generally to a max of two minutes. Three minutes if you are able to keep your audience's attention the entire time2) Message/craft the words of your stories around your "make me care" concept. Be deliberate
As you look through this list, see what applies to your life or what you want to apply. Write your own list of mantras. Whatever you do, make a list (short or long) of your goals and aspirations. Every so often read, revise, and contemplate...
Here are the mantras at The Chief Storyteller. Think about this list and how it can help prompt new and fresh approaches to making your personal and organizational communications unforgettable. We would love to hear your mantras...please leave them in the comments.
Personal Storytelling & Communications
01. People are at the heart of every great story.
02. Stories are how people remember you.
03. Use humor if you want to.
04. Write in your authentic voice.
05. Write and speak conversationally.
06. Write emails as if they will be read on a smart phone.
07. Tell more personal stories with relevant business messages
08. Promise a better tomorrow.
09. Know your elevator speech / elevator pitch / mission statement (core business story).
10. Ensure your core business story is unified throughout all communication materials.
11. Your brand story is everything.
12. Success stories are key to differentiation.
13. Social communities are built on personal and business stories.
14. Deliver on the expected experience.
15. It’s all about them.
16. Relationships matter.
17. Business stories are the engine of relationships and relationships are the engine of continued success.
18. Credibility is more important than expertise in the beginning of relationships.
19. Send hand-written thank you notes, especially job hunters.
20. Active listening is key to building great relationships.
21. Treat everyone like a CEO.
22. Stop listening to your Mother. Talk to strangers at networking events.
23. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.
24. Treat every client like your best client.
25. Be a deliberate networker.
26. Be a people bridge and make referrals.
27. Be a mentor.
28. People crave connection.
29. First Impressions Make Lasting Impressions: offer a warm smile, firm handshake, and good eye contact.
30. Write to the 10th grade level.
31 Content is king.
32. (Good) blog and article content matters the most.
33. Strive for “interest” questions. Avoid “understanding” questions.
34. Content first. Design second.
35. Always have a second person read your content before publishing.
36. Design your website for your target audiences (not your staff).
37. Inspire Action: facts do not persuade and inspire, people do.
38. Audiences are hungry for original thought-provoking content.
39. Get yourself known (e.g., LinkedIn questions and answers, post to SlideShare, and Tweet good information).
40. Speak in headlines.
41. Maintain a detailed Ideal Target Profile for your key target audiences.
42. But is the worst word in the English language (and many other languages).
43. Words really, really matter.
44. Have positive self-talk conversations.
45. Change is a choice.
46. Create your own success momentum.
47. Be a student everyday.
48. Be a whole body communicator.
49. Avoid fillers (um, ah, like, you know)
50. Be a deliberate communicator
Today I delivered my "Presenting with Confidence" workshop to a lively and engaging audience.
At the end of the presentation, Judith (name changed) came up to me and we chatted about a variety of subjects. Then she politely asked if she could make a suggestion. "Of course" I responded. She suggested moving the "Story of a Sign" video from the middle to the beginning. "It's very moving and powerful" (or something similar).
Internally I cringed. She was right. I whispered to her, "Can I tell you a secret? I needed a change. It's one of my all time favorites...I have been using that video as the start to more than 50 presentations...I wanted to do something different...for me."
Then she dropped the hammer on my toes. She smiled and said something to the effect, "isn't one of your messages, it's all about the audience?" I laughed out loud. Again, I knew she was right.
My learning lesson for today...listen to the audience.
Friday's presentation on the Capabilities Clinic WILL start with Story of a Sign! Thank you Judith for the much-needed and gentle kick in the ...
Join NBPCI and The Chief Storyteller for the Nov16th Compelling Capabilities Statement Clinic.
It is *Free* for registered attendees of the NBPCI Executive Breakfast Event with Teresa Lewis.
Please visit our other website page with all of the details. www.thechiefstoryteller.com/services/compelling-capability-statement
There are a few spots left for Wednesday's workshop in the Baltimore, Maryland area. Here is the information. Email Bjorn (contact info below) with any questions (or me).
There will be a meeting of entrepreneurs who want to learn the art of making great presentations. Mr. Ira Koretsky will lead this event. He has travelled the world training people and consulting to organizations on the art and science of great communications. Join us for a fun, engaging and insightful event.
Ira will introduce us to his five-step approach. He will ask you to draft your pitch (any type of pitch). And he will ask for volunteers to deliver what you have done during the workshop. Ira makes your communications unforgettable. He helps you develop compelling messages to your target audiences. With better spoken, written, and online communications, you will expand brand awareness, improve business outcomes, and strengthen financial results.
Presenting with Confidence: Develop and Deliver Engaging Presentations in 5 Steps
Great presenters transform ideas into action. They put their messages, supporting points, facts, and personal stories into a meaningful context for their audiences. Great presenters do not just tell us what we should know, they tell us what we should do, and why we should do it. Learn the techniques of great presenters. Learn to develop engaging presentations of any type for any audience (e.g., investor,prospecting, partner, executive team, and board updates). Join us as we share the five key steps to becoming a more confident and persuasive presenter. Learn more at www.TheChiefStoryteller.com
About Our Speaker
Ira Koretsky founded The Chief Storyteller® in 2002. Based on more than 26 years of experience, research, and refinement, he has developed a process shared internationally to over 25,600 people. This flexible process helps you develop and deliver highly targeted messages to your audiences. Ira looks at the world of communications and messaging differently than most. He looks at the world through the lens of storytelling, with a twist (come see the “twist” at this event).
- Identify the best messages and words interesting to your listeners.
- Focus your content on answering the questions of your audience.
- Learn a new way of communicating and building relationships.
- Harness the power of storytelling to meet your objectives more effectively and more quickly. Facts can only prove, stories build value!
Everybody, including entrepreneurs, need to pitch their stories to customers, investors, partners, and employees. Usually different pitches to different people.
Time and place
November 14, 2012 from 12:30 to 3:30 pm, Large seminar room at UMBC’s energy incubator (CETI)
1450 South Rolling Road, Halethorpe, MD 21227
12:30 pm Doors open & networking.
1:00 pm Workshop conducted by Ira Koretsky.
3:00 pm More networking (Ira will leave for another commitment).
We will limit the number of RSVPs to 60. This is likely to become a sold-out event. This meeting is free and open to all.
- Maryland Clean Energy Technology Incubator (CETI) @ bwtech @ UMBC.
- Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC).
- Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development (DBED).
- Whiteford Taylor Preston (WTP).
- SB & Company.
Bjorn Frogner, PhD
Entrepreneur in Residence, Tel: 443-534-7671
Maryland Clean Energy Technology Incubator(CETI) at bwtech@UMBC
Twenty-four years ago, I attended a Rotary Club luncheon where my congressman was the featured speaker. He had just returned from an overseas congressional visit to Eastern Europe and he took the occasion to remind us of the importance of family relationships here in America. He closed with a few prophetic words from the Harry Chapin folk rock song, “Cat’s in the Cradle,” about finding time for others, despite the hectic pressures of daily life.
The song is a first-person narrative and is a story about a dad who is too busy to find time for his son. As a boy, the son talks about growing up to be like his dad. It's only after his son is all grown up does his dad realize what has happened. His son has grown up just like him – too busy and unable to find the time for those closest to him.
Although I would not become a parent until eight years after first hearing this story, his closing words would remain with me and later guide me in my relationships with my own sons. Over the course of their young lives, we have done many things, shared countless experiences and gone to many places together – including the recent Marine Corps Marathon 10K race my oldest son and I competed in together.
And now, as he and I enjoy his final year at home before going off to college, it occurs to me how right my congressman was. Spending time with my sons and interacting with them over the years has brought us closer together. For now, anyway, it seems the prophecy of the song has been fulfilled: “He’d grown up just like me, my boy was just like me.”
I share this story because it speaks to the importance of relationships in business, as well. As we say here at The Chief Storyteller®, great relationships are the engine of continued success. They are formed when two people decide to invest the time to interact with one another, not when one person person merely speaks to another in a one-way conversation. This is particularly evident in social media, where many brands mistakenly believe the way to cultivate relationships with their customers is to produce a steady stream of one-way pronouncements. Brands who use social media to truly engage and interact with their customers ultimately enjoy stronger relationships by sharing common interests.
What relationships are you (or your brand) most proud of?
I'm a big fan of Dan Pink...While his article is about politics...it's really about words and messaging.
Here's the beginning:
This year’s presidential race has now come down to ten days and two people. But like many exercises in persuading, influencing, and otherwise moving others, it has also come down to two words – one for President Barack Obama, another for Governor Mitt Romney.
Which word prevails may determine which man takes the oath of office three months from now – and therein lies a lesson for your own work.
A few years ago, British advertising pioneer Maurice Saatchi conceived the idea of “one-word equity.” His notion was that today -- when all of us feel blasted by a daily fire hose of text, images, and ideas from our computers, phones, and social networks -- the only way to be heard is to push succinctness to it limit.
“What I am describing here is a new business model for marketing, appropriate to the digital age,” Saatchi wrote. “In this model, companies compete for global ownership of one word in the public mind.”
And what goes for companies goes equally for political candidates.
Dan continue discussing President Obama's word of "Forward" and Governor Romney's words of "Believe in America."
If you are a fan of words, content, meaning, and messaging, you'll enjoy Dan's musings.
I went for a run the other day. It was a warm, sunny day so I decided to run along the roads near the gym where I work out. I left my iPod in my locker because I knew it would be safer to listen for the sound of approaching cars and trucks while navigating around the traffic I was likely to encounter. Then something amazing happened.
I started listening.
I encountered a stretch of road where there was no traffic. There I was, just a single runner making his way along a quiet road surrounded by an open field on one side and an untouched forest on the other. Suddenly, it was quiet. So I started listening. I could hear the crickets chirping in the woods near the road. I could hear the birds singing. And I could hear the rhythmic sound of my running shoes hitting the pavement.
I never noticed the sound of my steps before. The steady beat became a motivational message of sorts. I enjoyed the sound so much I didn’t want it to end.
I started wondering how many other sounds and messages I had never heard before. I had been in countless meetings at work, lectures at school and conversations with others. What did I miss?
Here at The Chief Storyteller®, we focus on helping you and others like you tell your business stories. How those stories are perceived, however, often starts with how well you and your audience are listening.
When you listen to a story, what do you hear?
For more insights on listening and audience engagement, please see:
• Mobile Devices in Meetings – Rudeness or Engagement?
• How Engaged Are Your Meeting Participants?
• 10 Content Planning Questions for Getting Conference Attendees to Choose the Ballroom Over the Pool
Yahoo recently published an article, "Body Language Signs to Watch During the Debates."
This particular paragraph sums it all up nicely:
"The mistakes the presidential candidates have made over the years are numerous. Poor body language has been a common blunder. As much as candidates focus on perfecting the substance of what they say before the cameras, a large number of Americans are really most interested to see how they say it," CNN contributor and history professor Julian Zelizer wrote for CNN.
The article goes in depth on various body language tendencies of both candidates. And the article ends with a brief discussion of six non verbal cues:
1. An itchy nose
2. Hands in pockets
3. Crossed arms
4. Touching the neck
5. Finger pointing
6. Frequent eye blinking
Join NBPCI and The Chief Storyteller for a roll-up-your-sleeves workshop to make your three most important documents unforgettable to prospective government clients. They are your elevator speech, capability statement, and capability presentation. Turn your Big 3 into memorable, powerful packages inspiring prospects to say, “We need you.”
The event is Tue, June 12, 7:30 - 10:30, The Tower Club, 8000 Towers Crescent Drive, #1700, Vienna, VA 22182.
Detailed information is below...
Bring hardcopies of your Big 3 documents and your laptop, as you’ll be making changes to your documents during the program.
* Special Offer: For 30 days following the workshop, you are eligible for a free review of one of your Big 3 documents. Each review includes personalized suggestions.
Benefits of Attending
- Learn a powerful, internationally-taught process for developing compelling and engaging sales messages
- Make changes in real-time to each of your core sales tools
- Be inspired with proven, fresh ideas to convert prospects into clients
Your Program Includes:
- 30-page workbook filled with exercises, examples, how-to’s, processes, and templates
- Three, multi-page tip guides
- Free access to over 700 thought-provoking articles, ideas, and tips
- Copy of the presentation in PDF
- A 3-hour hands-on workshop, along with a specific action plan for improving your Big 3
We have secured a special rate just for friends of the The Chief Storyteller. Register today.
About Your Presenter, Ira Koretsky, The Chief Storyteller ®
Ira has been helping companies like yours develop strategic messaging and content management frameworks for over 23 years. He knows how to help you turn your Big 3 into documents getting prospects to say, “We need you.” Ira has delighted audiences around the world turning business stories into revenue. He is a sought-after speaker, consultant, columnist, and trainer. Be inspired with his mantra, “Think deliberately and differently.” Stay engaged with insightful exercises and actionable ideas you can implement immediately.
The Chief Storyteller helped IntelliDyne win a $94 million contract with the Federal government, TCIG quadruple its contracting revenue in six months, professionals at the EPA develop clear and compelling mission statements, and the CDC develop a complete outreach program for an important community health initiative.
On Monday evening, I was invited by a colleague to attend Arthur Herman's book launch at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. In "Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II," the AEI website writes," Pulitzer Prize finalist Arthur Herman describes how the U.S. won history’s greatest conflict by harnessing free market principles and private-sector creativity and innovation to increase war production."
I enjoyed Herman's talk very much. Overall, well done. I am looking forward to reading my signed copy of "Freedom's Forge."
For The Chief Storyteller's "Presentation Review" Series, here are some thoughts and ideas on Mr. Herman's presentation:
> Dr. Herman began talking about the rainy weather. While it may seem mundane, it was a great way to build rapport with the audience.
> The real meat and potatoes started with "Now, what I want to do here tonight is to tell you a story. And this is a story that usually is told backwards.
If you go to the textbooks, if you go to the movies, if you go to the usual discussions..."
> Excellent way of engaging the audience with "usually told backwards." Now we are waiting for how, why, etc. He builds intrigue.
> He uses a veru powerful figure of speech called anaphora. Anaphora is where the speaker repeats the same word or phrase at the beginning of two or more sentences. Herman uses "If you go to the" three times.
> He showed a black and white photograph of a B29 Bomber to complement his message.
> Herman shared a very logical and linear approach to support his ideas.
> My suggestion is to tell more stories to illustrate your points. While he hinted at some in short, 20 to 30 second spans, I'd suggest two to three minute stories. For example, in the Q&A, he mentioned a richly told story of a young woman working in a factory. He shared that she wrote a letter to her husband saying something like, "I am helping build a ship for him to come home in." The quiet in the room was palpable. It was a moving example. More example stories would have made his talk even better and more memorable.
> Herman wrapped up his presentation in a neat little bow. "The people I think you will meet in this book. The people that I met as a result of writing it. I have to tell you. I fell in love with them. I hope in reading this book you will too. Thank you very much." (Around the 44:00 minute mark in the video)
> During Q&A, Mr. Herman was poised, inviting, and comfortable. He made every person whom asked a question feel important.
> His photographs perfectly complemented his points and were engaging and interesting to look at.
> He varied his voice quality, tone, and cadence in just the right ways. Body language as well.
To learn more about Dr. Herman:
- AEI video of his presentation
- Wikipedia page
- Time interview "How To Build a War Machine"
- Book listing on Amazon (click here or on the image below)
Here is all of the information...Get Funded - Design and Deliver the Perfect Investor Pitch [Open Workshop Event]
It is imperative to have a clear and concise message that gets prospective investors to say, "Let’s talk!"…especially in today's economy. In this interactive, hands-on workshop, you will learn how to create a powerful, clear message that wows prospective investors. Apply five proven steps taught internationally, to design and deliver the perfect investor pitch. Receive concrete suggestions on your presentation based on individual and partner exercises. Join us as we show you how to transform your ideas into action.
Date: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Time: 6:30pm - 9:00pm
Location: Startup Lab, Johns Hopkins University, DC Campus, 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Lower Level, Room 7
Parking: Central Parking, 1800 Mass. Ave. NW. If you click http://washingtondc.centralparking.com/Washington-DC-1800-Massachusetts-Aven ue-NW-Parking.html you can get a coupon that reduces the cost to $6 after 5:00 PM. Nearest Metro stop is Dupont Circle.
As leaders of businesses, governmental agencies and associations, we encounter questions from those we lead through a variety of media – public speaking forums, face-to-face conversations, email, blog posts and even social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. In many cases, how we answer those questions says more about us and our ability to lead than our answers do.
Consider this example. A friend of mine, Carol, recently posed a simple yet thoughtful question to a speaker during a public forum. In response, the speaker smiled and said, “Carol, that’s a great question. I’m glad you asked that. Let me answer by saying….” Before he even offered an answer to the question, the speaker framed his response in a way that made Carol feel like the most important person in the room. What effect do you think this had on Carol’s perception of the speaker as a leader?
As an alternative, what do you suppose Carol’s reaction would have been to a response that sounded something like this: “I’m not sure I understand your question. Let’s take that off line.” Or to a response similar to this: “I’ve already answered that question. Would you like for me to answer it again?” In both of these instances, the speaker appears as if he is belittling Carol for asking the question – in the first response, by suggesting she didn’t ask her question clearly, and in the second, by making it sound as if she’s asking a question she should know the answer to. What effect do you think either of these responses might have on Carol’s perception of him as a leader?
Here at The Chief Storyteller, one of our top 50 business storytelling mantras for 2012 is to “Treat everyone like a CEO.” Answering questions in a way that makes people feel important is one good way to do that.
Last year I shared my top 50 business storytelling mantras. As I plan for 2012, I always look to my list to light a small fire of inspiration.
As you look through this list, see what applies to your life or what you want to apply. Write your own list of mantras. Whatever you do, make a list (short or long) of your goals and aspirations. Every so often read, revise, and contemplate...
Here are the mantras at The Chief Storyteller. Think about this list and how it can help prompt new and fresh approaches to your business stories. We would love to hear your mantras...please leave them in the comments.
1. It’s all about them.
2. Business stories are the engine of relationships and relationships are the engine of continued success.
3. Write to the 10th grade level.
4. Be memorable.
5. Use humor if you want to.
6. Content is king.
7. Relationships matter.
8. Credibility is more important than expertise in the beginning of relationships.
9. Know your elevator speech / elevator pitch / mission statement (core business story).
10. Ensure your core business story is unified throughout all communication materials.
11. Your brand story is everything.
12. Success stories are key to differentiation.
13. (Good) blog and article content matters the most.
14. Strive for “interest” questions. Avoid “understanding” questions.
15. Social communities are built on personal and business stories.
16. Everything you write, speak, and record online is a business story.
17. Content first. Design second.
18. Always have a second person read your content before publishing.
19. Design your website for your target audiences (not your employees).
20. Everyone builds relationships through networking.
21. Send hand-written thank you notes, especially job hunters.
22. Audiences are hungry for original thought-provoking content.
23. Blogs are for sharing, educating, and inspiring…not selling.
24. Get yourself known (e.g., LinkedIn questions and answers, post to SlideShare, and Tweet good information).
25. Generating genuine interest in your product/service is the first step in building a relationship.
26. Active listening is key to building great relationships.
27. Write in your authentic voice.
28. But is the worst word in the English language (and many other languages).
29. Words really, really matter.
30. Treat everyone like a CEO.
31. Stop listening to your Mother. Talk to strangers at networking events.
32. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.
33. Speak in headlines.
34. Write and speak conversationally.
35. Treat every client like your best client.
36. Maintain a detailed Ideal Target Profile for your key target audiences.
37. Have positive self-talk conversations.
38. Change is a choice.
39. Deliver on the expected experience.
40. Create your own success momentum.
41. Be a student everyday.
42. Be a deliberate networker.
43. Be a deliberate communicator.
44. Be a people bridge and make referrals.
45. Be a mentor.
46. Be a whole body communicator.
47. Write emails as if they will be read on a smart phone.
48. Inspire Action: facts do not persuade and inspire, people do.
49. First Impressions Make Lasting Impressions: offer a warm smile, firm handshake, and good eye contact.
50. People are at the heart of every great story.
I had the pleasure of seeing Dan Roam speak at an ASAE Great Idea's Conference. He was fun, kept my attention, and shared some great techniques for turning ideas into pictures.
In the past two months, I have purchased five copies for clients. I thought, "now that's a sign. I should write a quick book review."
Published in 2008, "Back of the Napkin," was Dan's first book. Now it is an international bestseller and according to his website, "the most popular visual-thinking business book of all time." I believe it is such a popular book because it is filled with helpful, illustrative pictures. Most business self-help books contain only a few pictures. Most of Dan's book is pictures. They include walk-throughs, tools, and examples. His whole approach is built on the simple premise that you don't have to be creative or know how to draw. If you can draw stick figures, then you are ready to tackle problem solving with pictures. If you find yourself sometimes at a loss for how to show a problem visually, consider reading Dan's book.Resources:
- Back of the Napkin website
- Back of the Napkin book site on Amazon
- Back of the Napkin blog
- Change This Manifesto: The 10 1/2 Commandments of Visual Thinking: The "Lost Chapter" from The Back of the Napkin
- Change This Manifesto: Found In Translation: The Case for Pictures in Business
Over the years I have learned to use the hidden power of "No" when working with certain types of people or with time-challenged teams.
Today I have a client where the team is out of town half of every month. Saying that scheduling meetings is a challenge is sometimes an understatement.
With their personalities and time commitments, they are the perfect candidates for applying my "No" style of consulting.
For example, while developing a new presentation outlying the group's strategy, we would collaborate and develop the outline. I would then show them two to three options for each of the major concept storyboards/slides. The various team members inevitably would tell me more about what he/she didn't like than what he/she did like.
And that was perfect. I got the results I wanted. I learned what the team preferences were for the messaging and visuals.
Sometimes consultants shy away from what seems like a confrontational communication style. Try looking at how the client communicates, the reasons, and what you can do to adapt your style to achieve the same results.
Yesterday I came across an interesting blog posting "The Pull of Narrative – In Search of Persistent Context." It was an interesting and thought provoking piece on the concept of narrative and why it is better than storytelling. This excerpt does a pretty good job of capturing John Hagel's sentiment. Below the excerpt is my comment.
Excerpt: Stories and narratives are often used interchangeably, as synonyms. But here I will draw a crucial distinction between the two. Narratives, at least in the way I will be using them, are stories that do not end – they persist indefinitely. They invite, even demand, action by participants and they reach out to embrace as many participants as possible. They are continuously unfolding, being shaped and filled in by the participants. In this way, they amplify the dynamic component of stories, both in terms of time and scope of participation. Stories are about plots and action while narratives are about people and potential.
Just came across your posting. Your article is interesting and thought provoking. After reading it, I do not agree that narrative is different from storytelling.
My focus is storytelling as part of making your professional and personal communications unforgettable. Every single thing you say, write, or post online is a story.
For this to work, the "effect" of the story has to persist long after the story is read or heard.
It is funny for me to say this, when I was in college, I was repeatedly told that the soft skills were less important…I came to believe it. How shortsighted that thinking was. And unfortunately, it is ubiquitous worldwide.
It is an easy laugh to say public speaking is the number one fear. There are more than 20 phobias associated with communicating. Life in and of itself is not the best teacher for communication. Most students who graduate high school, college, and to some extent graduate school are not truly prepared for the professional world in terms of communication. They have the skills to be excellent in his/her profession.
I learned from working in a hospital years ago a nursing adage: see one, do one, teach one.Rather than redefine or move people to rethink narrative over story, I'd strongly suggest providing people with the know-how (e.g., tools, templates, examples, and case studies) to be great storytellers--to be great communicators.
The Chief Storyteller