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Authors

Ira Koretsky
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Duane Bailey
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Guest Bloggers
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Archive

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networking workshop

Looking forward to my workshop with the Society for International Development (SID) Washington, DC Chapter, which is the "largest and most active chapter of SID (See below).

My program, "The Deliberate Networker: Build Stronger & More Valuable Relationships," is always hands-on. We'll be doing my "Treat Everyone Like a CEO" Exercise (watch example on YouTube). 

If you are not a member of SID, they welcome interested persons. Send an email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and mention me.

 

The Deliberate Networker: Build Stronger & More Valuable Relationships

The best networkers are relationship builders. They are deliberate with the people they spend time with, and at the events they attend. As an art, networking blends human behavior, storytelling, and trust. As a science, it requires you to act like a chess grandmaster. Join us for a fun and hands-on program as we explore proven ways to make the right “next moves” that can get you noticed by recruiters, accelerate career success, and promote your brand to establish yourself in your field.

Following the program, there will be an optional networking session with fellow participants in addition to a Happy Hour at Cities Restaurant & Lounge (1212 18th St NW, Washington D.C.).

 

* Young Professionals in Development Network (YPN) events are open to SID-W members only ($45 for young professionals). However, we welcome all first-time SID-W YPN Event attendees to participate in this "free preview" event. For more information on membership, please click here or contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

SID-Washington is the largest and most active chapter of the Society for International Development (SID), an international network founded in 1957 to serve as a global forum dedicated to sustainable economic, social and political development. Through the locally-driven programs of our member organizations and individuals, the majority of whom work on the front lines of development, we are uniquely positioned to inform and promote more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable international development.  Our network is spread across more than 30 chapters and 3,000 members in more than 50 countries. The Secretariat has offices in Dar es-Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), and Rome (Italy).

Our individual and institutional members include development practitioners from NGOs, the private sector, bilateral and multilateral institutions, think tanks, embassies, and universities. Our expansive membership contributes to the dynamic exchange of ideas and information that lies at the heart of SID-Washington.

 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day

st patricks day

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all my Irish friends around the world...And to everyone, as today you are Irish (smile).

I look forward to St. Paddy's Day as it is always festive. I wore my green tie and shamrock lapel pin.

It also is a day that starts with a fantastic breakfast event hosted by the Northern Ireland Bureau with Invest NI and Visit Ireland.  Having done some workshop programs in Belfast, Northern Ireland, NI holds a special place in my heart.

I included a few pictures from the breakfast.

Here I am with  Norman Houston, Director of the Northern Ireland Bureau. And a big thanks to the entire team of Stewart, Lorraine, Tracy, Kirsten, and Kelsey.

 TheChiefStoryteller.Blog.2017-03-StPatricks-1

Inside teh beautiful Willard Hotel in Washington, DC.  Mr. Houston has just finished his remarks.

TheChiefStoryteller.Blog.2017-03-StPatricks-2

In front of the big Welcome sign.

TheChiefStoryteller.Blog.2017-03-StPatricks-3

A look into the goodie box everyone received. Delicious Irish Soda bread which we made at home, potato chips my daughter devoured, tea we enjoy, and fudge we have to bake with.

 TheChiefStoryteller.Blog.2017-03-StPatricks-4

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day 2016

speaking, presenting, keynote, workshop, motivational speaker, storytelling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wishing all of the active duty service members and veterans a happy and healthy Veterans Day.

It all started in college in ROTC. Great experiences that then lead me to active duty in the US Army. I spent five excellent years supporting military health.

speaking, presenting, keynote, storytelling, USAID

Thank you to Mr. Vera and Mr. Canada from the USAID OSDBU Office for inviting me to keynote at the third annual USAID Veterans International Small Business Opportunities Conference (VISBOC) yesterday.

I very much enjoyed spending the day with fellow veterans across all of the services. (Of course, I poked a little fun at them as well)

My topic was "Awaken the Storytelling Giant in You."

Description: What if the right story inspired government offiicals (both USAID and international), prime contractors, partners, and country managers to invite you to hear your ideas and your company's capabilities? What if the right story prompted the small business program manager or contracting officer to recommend your company? What difference could that right story mean to your company? Join Ira Koretsky for a lively and insightful keynote on how to turn your experiences into powerful stories that engage and inspire stakeholders throughout the USAID Community, nationally and internationally.

I shared three main ideas:  1) Think DeliberatelyTM; 2) Make Me Care; and 3) Awaken Your Giant. Several of my favorite videos were also shown including Historia de un Letrero (The Story of a Sign) and Jeff Hoffman's The Power of Wonder (You can find them in the playlist on my YouTube Channel here).

And ended with Treat Everyone Like a CEOTM. This is a high-energy, on-your-feet exercise where I challenge you to think very differently and very deliberately about how you engage people and then maintain relationships with them. (YouTube Channel).

A Navy veteran said to me, "You were really great. I especially liked how applicable your videos were. And I appreciate your energy and passion in helping Vets." A fellow Army veteran said, "Hooah! Your Treat Everyone Like a CEOTM Exercise was the best I have seen in all my years. It was fun, educational, and really, really made me think about how I use my words and actions."

Here are a few pictures...

The-Chief-Storyteller-Blog-2016-12-usaid-visboc-1 

The-Chief-Storyteller-Blog-2016-12-usaid-visboc-2

The-Chief-Storyteller-Blog-2016-12-usaid-visboc-3

speaking, presenting, keynote, workshop, motivational speaker, storytelling

I'm back! Back to kickoff the 2016 Business EXCELerator Series for Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce. I had honor of kicking off the 2015 series, with my elevator speech program.

MCCC is an awesome organization that I'm proud to be a member of for years. They do so much for the community...

My topic is "Executive Storytelling:  How Leaders Use Stories to Engage, Persuade, and Inspire."

Brief Description:  Learn how to turn your personal experiences into powerful workplace stories that engage and inspire your stakeholders. Follow a proven framework complemented by practical training aides to develop your high-impact stories that influence change, motivate teams, obtain approval, and secure funding.

I'll be reviewing my executive storytelling framework, having fun with "That's Interesting, Tell Me More" exercise, sharing some powerful videos, and walking through the Leadership Story Framework.

Agenda and More Information

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What a great time. The room was filled with business owners, executives, sales professionals, marketing folks, and those in customer service from corporate, non profits, and government (boy that was a lot of lists!). I had them do my exercise, "That's Interesting, Tell Me More," to set a foundation for their leadership story. This foundation identified what was missing -- powerful words, powerful message, and powerful delivery.  I reviewed my story framework, shared some insightful videos, and was engaged with a variety of great questions.

Here's the excellent write up from the Chamber...

"Ira Koretsky, CEO, The Chief Storyteller® presented “Executive Storytelling: How Leaders Use Stories to Engage, Persuade and Inspire.” A key differentiator in the marketplace for any business is customer service.  Ira stressed the use of effective storytelling to be remembered and to demonstrate your value and that of your organization. When you tell a personal, workplace story, select one that that has a universal message. The best story is one that is easily shared. When developing your story, “start in the middle,” keep it under three minutes, and always inspire your audiences to think or act differently. Your organization can and will be changed by changing the stories executives tell, customers tell, and employees tell."

 

 

 

figure of speech, repetition, speaking, presenting, impact, messaging

I’m often asked, "When it comes to deciding what story to tell, where do I start?”

Great stories are those that touch people, that touch people with a personal experience shared in a memorable workplace message.

When you are thinking about the next strategic presentation, board meeting, report, etc. where a story will help advance your agenda (when won't it?), think about experience moments. These are times in your life where you gained new insights and where you changed because of these new insights. These insights should be profound such that they still affect your thinking and actions today.

Then take these experience moments and turn them into workplace stories with a specific message, a specific idea, a specific action you want your audiences to take.

Experience Moment Suggestions:
- Experiences that changed you a) Related to a person or b) "Aha" moments/epiphanies
- Firsts:  First win, first loss (playing sports, hobby, tournament), and first promotion
- Friends & Family:  Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, Mother, Father (always great sources of stories, sayings, messages)
- Media:  Movies, books, poems from childhood to adulthood

figure of speech, repetition, speaking, presenting, impact, messaging

The English language has hundreds of figures of speech to help you improve the effectiveness of your communications. Anaphora is an excellent example of repetition.

Look at the examples below. Find ways for you to experiment by including this figure of speech in your written, spoken, and online communications.

As always, test your use of language. Is it engaging, persuasive, and memorable? If not, (ruthlessly) revise.

 

- Definition:   A word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of a successive phrase, clause, or sentence, two or more times
- Pronunciation:  ah-NAF-oh-rah
- Also Known As:  Epanaphora, Iteratio, Relatio, and Repetitio
- Etymology:  Greek, “carrying back”

Example:  “Freedom's Forge," Book Launch Event, Author Arthur Herman, 5/2012
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...

Example:  Rick Blaine in Casablanca the movie
{Of all the} gin joints {in all the} towns {in all the} world, she walks into mine

Example:  President John Kennedy, Inaugural Address, Jan 1961
{Let both sides} explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us. {Let both sides}, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms, and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

{Let both sides} seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

{Let both sides} unite to heed, in all corners of the earth, the command of Isaiah--to 'undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free.'

branding, messaging, content marketing, marketing, positioning

I'm sure you have heard the phrase "Facts Tell…Stories Sell."

It is something I live everyday, especially when it comes to presentations.

That's why I have teamed up with Colleen Jolly from the 24 Hour Company to offer a hands-on webinar, "How to Tell Stories through Visuals:  3 Steps to Winning Presentations." It is a 90-minute webinar on June 15 at 10:00 PST, 13:00 EST, 18:00 BST, 18:30 IST, 23:00 AEST

I have known Colleen for years. One day over lunch we realized, "Why haven't we done this before?" She is a master at visuals - graphics, images, pictures, charts, graphs - you name it. She has an impressive portfolio you can see here.

Together, we will walk you through, in a hands-on approach with examples, how to develop better visuals complemented with high impact storytelling.

Description
Learn how to sell your story -- with words AND pictures -- in this 90 minute webinar and join from anywhere in the world! Ira Koretsky combines his storytelling expertise with Colleen Jolly's eye-catching visuals to give you a simple, three step process to win your pitches, every time. Practice honing your messages with slides that pop in this interactive session, learning from the best edu-tainers around!

Time
90-minutes, June 15, 10:00 PST, 13:00 EST, 18:00 BST, 18:30 IST, 23:00 AEST

Fee & Registration
$97 USD, registration at 24 Hour Company

 

 

Just posted this on Instagram. Thought I would share it. Something I am very passionate about-- the connecting, the bonding, the relationship building humans need and thrive on.

People tend to forget that we all started off as strangers... our spouses, our best friends, our relatives before they became our grandparents, our aunts and uncles, and so forth. Everyone was first a stranger. And only through physical communication was that relationship cemented.

As a communications professional, adjunct professor teaching undergrads about career strategies, and voracious reader, I/we are witnessing a relationship building chasm...

Here's what I posted on Instagram:

I truly believe we need to get back to building relationships in a physical way… in meetings, over food, by telephone, networking, and more. Social media is not a replacement or substitute. It’s just another way. You truly can’t get to know someone until you look them in the eye and judge their spirit. To hear their stories with their body language and tone of voice. Video can do this…text can not.

 branding, messaging, content marketing, marketing, positioning

branding, messaging, content marketing, marketing, positioning

If you were to watch the brand new advertisement from car sharing service Lyft, you might be tempted to dismiss it as absurd and ask "What's the point?"

I think the problem lies with the timing of the message. Lauren, the protoganist, exits her car and uses her mobile phone around :45 seconds. That's 45 seconds folks... of waiting to get to the point of the commercial. The key message, "Riding is the new driving," appears shorly therefater at the :55 second mark. 

In today's whiplash society of ad to ad to email subject line back to banner ad and so forth, 55 seconds may seem like an eternity.

Perhaps Lyft wants us to think of all the seeming visual cacophony as micro messages representing feelings we experience when in rush hour and similar unpleasant driving situations. Then of course, think positively about using Lyft (the fun, light music helps lighten the mood as well).

Now, if Lyft is pursuing a soft approach to branding instead of attracting more customers, this approach may work. Or perhaps, Lyft is relying on social media to drive interest and therefore visitors to its various social media platforms such as YouTube where the advertisement just went live. Since its launch on April 25, the ad has garnered about 116,500 views.

 

 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Just Be Nice with Your Words

speaking, leadership, leader, ceo, cxo, employee, language, positive, words

Negative words, whether used on purpose or by accident, can have a big impact on your audience. Potentially, an impact you did not want or plan for.

Imagine you are work. Think about when you hear someone say something negative about a co-worker? Or when someone says something critical about a work product such as a report? How does the negativity color your world about the person and the organization? Do you ignore it? Distance yourself from the person? Or even, offer excuses for him/her?

Whatever you say or write, we believe at The Chief Storyteller that whenever possible, be positive. In many cases, you can indeed turn negative words and phrases into positive ones, while still getting your point across.

Often people write sentences such as, “Bill, this is a great idea, but I don’t like xyz.” As such, everything after the “but” is negative…everything. Instead, make it positive with “Bill, this is a great idea. Let’s talk more about xyz to better understand your ideas.”

Examples of negative words include:
- But
- However
- Although
- Except
- Even though
- Unfortunately
- Let me be honest
- This is simple to do

Here are some suggestions to improve your interactions and relationships when it comes to using words:
- Eliminate “but.” Replace it with “and” or a “.” (period)
- Think about the negative aspect of what you are intending to say. Does it really have to be said? If you must communicate a negative idea, re-phrase it to make it more positive.
- Do not write/email while angry or upset. Wait at least 10 minutes.
- Read what you wrote aloud (not in your head). It helps you to “feel” the emotional level of the words.

speaking, presenting, keynote, workshop, motivational speaker, storytelling

I'm honored to be delivering the opening keynote for the 15th Annual Departement of Energy (DOE) Small Business Forum & Expo in Atlanta May 23 to 25.

My topic is "Awaken the Storytelling Giant in You."
Description: What if the right story inspired your company's targeted program, site office, or laboratory to add your company to their team? What if the right story persuaded the small business program manager to invite you to hear your ideas and company's capabilities? What if the right story prompted the small business program manager or contracting officer to recommend your company? What difference could that right story mean to your company? Join Ira for a lively and insightful keynote on how to turn your experiences into powerful stories that engage and inspire stakeholders throughout the DOE Community.

I will also deliver a complementary workshop that will be a hands-on program later in the day.

*** If you are attending, please send me a note and let's coordinate schedules.

Here's more information on the event:

The Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), is proud to present the 15th Annual DOE Small Business Forum & Expo at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, GA, May 23 - 25, 2016.

Dr. Ernest Moniz, United States Secretary of Energy, will welcome everyone Tuesday morning. Throughout the event, there will be plenaries, educational workshops, a large Exhibit Hall, as well as business matchmaking sessions. Over 800 attendees will represent all levels of Federal, state, and local government agencies, the small business community, large/prime contractors, and many more!

The OSDBU goal is to provide maximum practicable opportunities in the Departments' acquisitions to all small business concerns.  The OSDBU created this 2 1/2 day event to connect small businesses with various DOE offices and programs to enhance DOE's overall mission of ensuring America's security and prosperity by:

- Strengthening and sustaining America's Energy Independence
- Introducing new innovations in areas of Science and Engineering
- Enhancing nuclear security through defense, nonproliferation, and environmental efforts

DOE2016 will provide small businesses with the information needed to help you navigate through the largest civilian agency within the Federal government.  General sessions and breakouts will include subjects, such as:

- Finding and Winning Simplified Acquisitions, Part 1 & 2 (from my friend and colleague, Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition)
- DOE Headquarters Panel
- DOE National Laboratories and Site Office
- DOE IT Opportunities
- DOE's Supply Chain Management
- National Nuclear Security Administration (East Coast Locations)
- Executive Storytelling: How Leaders Use Stories to Engage, Persuade and Inspire (my breakout session)
- More...

Agenda (click here)

Speakers (click here)

 

 

 

speaking, pause, pausing, art of the pause, presenting, presentation, motivational speaker

The art of the “pause” – knowing when to use a short pause or long pause – offers a lot of benefits to speakers, presenters, and trainers alike.

Everybody reads at a different speed.
Everyone listens at the same speed.
Everyone comprehends in a different way.
Pausing helps smooth out the learning speed bumps.

Here are a few benefits of employing effective pauses. Pauses…
a) Are an elegant way to emphasize points
b) Give your audience important moments to process what you say
c) Enable your audience to catch up, especially if you are a fast talker
d) Make you appear more confident, as you don’t need to fill every second with words
e) Can add tension and suspense
f) Are very effective with international audiences. They allow your audience and translator to catch up to you (similar to C)
g) Keep your audiences engaged

People frequently ask us, “Won’t my audiences notice I am pausing on purpose? It doesn’t seem natural.”

Our answer, “Used appropriately, no one will know you are deliberately pausing. What they will think is that you are an effective speaker.”

If you are new to pausing, start using short pauses in your next conversation. Test out your effectiveness until you are able to master the pause. Then move on to public speaking and training.

speaking, training, presenting, practice, practicingThere isn’t a prospect or client that tells us something close to “I really don’t have time to practice my [blank] like I should.” [Blank] is a presentation to the board, a story to inspire action, a sales presentation, an investor pitch, and so on.

Our response is something like, “There isn’t an Olympic athlete, celebrity actor, famous musician, and New York Times best-selling author that doesn’t practice his or her craft—and some practice daily. Not one.”

One of the more well respected researchers in expert performance, K. Anders Ericsson, PhD, has published numerous papers and articles. One paper is “The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance” (link here). According to Dr. Ericsson, at the intersection of expertise and habit is deliberate practice.

Whatever you do, make practice part of your planning. Practice at least a little. We suggest for really important events, three to five times.

Deliberate Practice helps you.....
- smooth out transitions from slide to slide and big concept to big concept
- identify "bumpy" areas--areas that sound awkward, cause you to hesitate and stumble, etc.
- feel (much) more confident, which then allows more authentic passion and the real you to shine

Happy Lunar New Year or Happy Chinese New Year or Gong Xi Fa Cai. The Chief Storyteller® team wishes you a healthy and prosperous 2016.

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reduce jargon complexity engage audiencePolish-born British novelist, Joseph Conrad said, “He who wants to persuade should put his trust not in the right argument, in the right word.”

Words are power. They stir emotions. They cause people to make choices. That’s exactly what you want to do—get your target audiences to act.

Magazines and newspapers write between the 8th and 10th grade levels. Why so simple? To ensure EVERYONE understands the message and content, as quickly as possible.

Reducing jargon and sentence/word complexity are key to enhancing engagement with your stakeholders.

Here are some suggestions to increase your messaging impact:
- Reduce jargon and acronyms
- Use shorter words
- Keep your sentences short. Keep them to a maximum of 15 words
- Use the free Readability Tools included with Microsoft Word®. Target 50 and above for the Flesch Reading Ease and target 10th grade or lower for the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
- Ask the opinions of people outside your organization and industry. Do they REALLY understand your messages? And appreciate them?
- Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. Edit ruthlessly

Experiences are enduring. Experiences are shared by people in writing, in social media, in person, in email, etc. How do your audiences respond and share your messages?

In honor of Dr. King and celebration of his holiday, here is one of our favorite quotes.

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

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marketing communications double check qa

Thom came to us as a successful 30-something ready for his next sales managerial role. After the meeting, he was pumped. He had all these great ideas to transform his ho-hum cover letter, resume, LinkedIn, etc. into exciting, tell me more experiences, stories, and bullets.

In fact, he was so excited and enthusiastic he wanted to send out the next version of his resume the very next day. We were scheduled to meet next week to review his updated materials after he spends time revising and obtaining feedback from his network and mentors.

After suggesting he send his resume to us for a quick review, he politely declined. We politely insisted. We knew he didn’t get anyone else’s feedback and certainly no one else did a quality check (e.g., spelling, grammar, format, white space, word choice, dashes consistency, etc.).

Thom emailed it. Among several things (see quality check items), this is what he had under his current position.

- Developed and executed the sales department. Supported a multi-national team of 12 sales professionals across five technical product lines.

We are embarrassed (a little) that we laughed loudly. After a quick telephone call to point out Thom’s mistake, he just didn’t see it. “What was wrong with what I wrote?” We had him delete the second sentence and just look at “Developed and executed the sales department.” He laughed. He asked that we not turn him into the police for murder (smile). Now he was convinced NOT to send it out until he obtained more feedback and at least two people helped with a quality review and we looked at it as well.

Whether it is brand new content on your website, a new YouTube video, a revised brochure, an updated LinkedIn® profile, and certainly your resume, please, please have some "outsiders" review the item. While a mistake isn't going to land you in jail, it may cost you a prospect? a client? or that job opportunity?

storytelling limit goals

Want a good way of creating drama and adding suspense in your stories? Set near-impossible goals.

As an example, imagine you are watching an Indiana Jones movie. The rock wall falls away and Indiana has just seconds to jump. Everyone in the theatre is watching with rapt attention. Indy’s goal? To escape? And if you were in the audience, it would seem impossible and all hope would be lost? Right?

You too can heighten the emotional aspect of your story by adding organization limit goals or personal limit goals. Here are two quick examples of points to tell in a story.

Organization Limits
- My boss gave me an ultimatum. When the calendar shows May 31, software development must stop. Get it done, do it right, and do it within a ridiculously meager budget.
- If it wasn’t done, we would lose one of our biggest clients and most importantly, our jobs. I could feel the sweat trickling down my back.

Personal Limits
- Midway into my week-long hike up the mountain, I realized I was in over my head. The expected moderate difficulty hike to the top was everything OTHER than expected. I was not prepared for the drop in temperature. My gear was inadequate. I was dehydrated, I was hungry, and I was afraid.
- Mentally, I was giving up. Nothing, and I mean nothing, I could think of was working. I hadn’t slept for two days. I didn’t know what to do.

Everyone at The Chief Storyteller® wishes you a warm, safe, and relaxing holiday season. Here's a little storytelling humor.

secret-formula-for-great-storytelling

visual words

“A picture is worth a thousand words,” perfectly describes the necessity for you to tell your stories with engaging (and powerful) imagery.

Think of a story you were told recently while at work. Was it interesting? Engaging? Memorable? We bet you a billion (Monopoly®) dollars that for you to say yes to all three, the storyteller used visual words. Words like those of Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, during a commencement she gave to the Harvard Business School Graduates:

Lori has a great metaphor for careers. She says they’re not a ladder; they’re a jungle gym. As you start your post-HBS career, look for opportunities, look for growth, look for impact, look for mission. Move sideways, move down, move on, move off. Build your skills, not your resume.

This excerpt is an excellent example of metaphor and descriptive language. People who love to tell stories...the good storytellers...think visually. When they create stories in their minds, they transform words into engaging and memorable experiences…experiences that draw you in and make you feel like you are part of the experience.

Watch videos of professional speakers. As you do, stop the video every so often. Think about the words you just heard. Do they move you? Try to determine why and why not? What can you learn from these examples?

- Watch videos on TED and TEDx.
- Watch speeches on YouTube from noted academics, business leaders, politicians, opinion leaders, and thought leaders (examples include LinkedIn Speakers, @Google Talks, and Harvard Business School)
- Watch movies with powerful dialogue and memorable scenes (IMDB is an excellent source of movie information)

paul brandus book launch

Last year I had the honor and priviledge to co-present a program on messaging and the media with Paul Brandus. I'm not easily impressed. I was after working with Paul. I've met a lot of journalists over my career. He has a insightful grasp of the business side of journalism. And he wants the interviewee to be successful, really successful. 

After receiving my invite to his book launch party, I asked him if I could share it and invite othes. "The more the merrier," he said. Come out and join us on Tuesday 29 September. The reviews list reads like a Whose Who in Washington, DC communications leaders.

Here's some information about Paul, Under this Roof (Amazon link) book launch, and the book itself.  Email me know if you are joining.

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About Paul

An award-winning, independent member of the White House press corps, Paul Brandus is the founder of West Wing Reports® in 2009 (Twitter: @WestWingReport, 200k+ followers) and provides reports for television and radio outlets around the United States and overseas. In 2011, he won the Shorty Award for "Best Journalist on Twitter," sponsored by the Knight Foundation. The Atlantic calls Brandus “One of the top Washington Insiders You Should Follow on Twitter.” He lives in Reston, Virginia.

Book Launch

Every guest at the book launch receives their own copy of Under this Roof.

Army and Navy Club
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
5:00pm-7:00pm

on Farragut Square
901 Seventeenth Street
N.W, Washington,D.C. 20006

http://www.armynavyclub.org/

Farragut North Station (Red Line)
Farragut West Station (Orange/Blue/Silver Line)

UNDER THIS ROOF: The White House and the Presidency—21 Presidents, 21 Rooms, 21 Inside Stories

Why, in the hours before John F. Kennedy was murdered, was a blood-red carpet installed in the Oval Office? Did you know Abraham Lincoln never slept in the Lincoln Bedroom—so where did he sleep? What really happened in the Situation Room on September 11, 2001? And why was the White House itself—home to a head of state longer than London’s Buckingham Palace, Tokyo’s Imperial Palace and Moscow’s Kremlin—nearly torn down on multiple occasions and moved?

From John Adams—the first President to live in the White House—to Barack Obama, the story of the White House is the story of America itself. You’ll walk with Adams through the still-unfinished mansion, and watch Thomas Jefferson plot to buy the Louisiana Territory. Feel the fear and panic as the British approach the mansion in 1814—and stand with Dolley Madison as she frantically saves a painting of George Washington. Gaze out the window with Abraham Lincoln as Confederate flags flutter in the breeze on the other side of the Potomac. Brandus takes us into the room as one president is secretly sworn in, and another gambles away the White House china in a poker game. Through triumph and tragedy, boom and bust, secrets and scandals, Brandus takes you to the Situation Room, Presidential Bedroom, Oval Office and more. You’ll read stories of First Ladies—Abigail Adams to Mary Lincoln to Jacqueline Kennedy—that will amaze you, and, along the way, learn how advances in technology that changed the nation—telephones, electricity, radio and more—changed the White House and the presidency forever.

Find the book on Amazon here.

Select praise for Under This Roof:
“Inventive, smart and engaging” —Susan Page, Washington Bureau chief of USA Today

“Under This Roof is like taking a tour of the White House with a gifted storyteller at your side illuminating the most dramatic moments of American history…. Paul Brandus paints a vivid picture.” —Christina Bellantoni, Editor-in-Chief, Roll Call.

“This fascinating book is stuffed with secrets and little-known tales of presidential intrigue.” —Larry J. Sabato, New York Times bestselling author of The Kennedy Half-Century

“[A]n engaging, endearing profile of the world’s most famous residence and the families who called the White House home… I thought I knew just about everything interesting about the presidency—until I read his book!” —Ron Fournier, senior columnist for the National Journal

“[A] fast-moving and well-written history of the presidency… Brandus is a top-notch tour guide, filling his pages with vivid portraits of presidents and their families at work and play.” —Del Quentin Wilber, New York Times bestselling author of Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan


“[A] towering history . . . a riveting narrative.” —David A. Andelman, Editor & Publisher, World Policy Journal; Columnist, USA Today; and author of Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today

“Under this Roof sweeps us into a sensuous account of the history of both the home of the President, and the men and women who designed, inhabited, and decorated it. Paul Brandus captivates with surprising, gloriously raw observations.”—Mark Santangelo, Chief Librarian and Archivist, The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington

LinkedIn Tips

Here's a total revision to of one of our more popular posts published a few years back (67 Tips for Using LinkedIn to Help You Find the Job You Want). I categorized the tips, added several, and removed the outdated ones. Suggestions, feedback, your favorite tips?  Please let me know in the comments.

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If you were not aware, LinkedIn is the number one business social media site in the world. Today, there are over 380,000,000 members with an average of 5,000,000 joining every month. Some interesting statistics:

- Officially launched on May 5, 2003.
- 4,500 members as of May 2003
- Available in 24 languages
- > 8,700 full-time employees with offices in 30 cities
- Members come from > 200 countries and territories
- Top Countries: USA 118M+; India 31M+; UK 19M+; Canada 11M+; France 10M+; China 10M+; Italy 8M+; Australia 7M+; Mexico 7M+; Spain 7M+

The tips are designed to improve your profile and for you job seekers, to help you find a job. These are the top ones that colleagues, clients, and friends have found most helpful. There are a lot more!

Suggest you identify the best tips for you. Then prioritize what you will do in what time frame. I did include a 30 Day Must Do, To Do list. Also, based on several suggestions from folks, each tip is on a separate line to facilitate a check-list approach.

Whatever you need from LinkedIn, be deliberate with your time and how you interact with the LI network.

30 Day Must Do, To-Do List

  • Customize your professional headline (it is critical to have a compelling and engaging headline...this is what people who search see first adjacent to your picture)
  • Check and correct grammar (copy/paste into your favorite word processing software - I have never seen anyone's profile with no grammar errors)
  • Check and correct spelling (copy/paste into your favorite word processing software - you might be surprised at finding a spelling error)
  • Check and correct readability (use Microsoft Word's Readability Tools). Generally, you should write at or below the 10th grade level. Most USA magazines write between the 6th and 8th grade levels. For comparison, The New York Times writes to the 10th grade level. For Readability, your goal should be greater than 50.
  • Omit your personal information that may lead to identity theft (e.g., birthday, marital status, and address...While its fun to get happy birthday notes. Today's hyper fraud and attack world, I'd suggest you omit it)
  • Spend time (a lot) on your summary. After your professional headline, it is the important section. It is what people read first (unless you changed the order of the sections).
  • Spend time (a lot) on your Skills. This is an important section as people can search on your skills.
  • Put your value proposition/elevator speech in your summary
  • Use action verbs and active voice. If you live and work in the USA, suggest you use first person voice. If you work a lot with people in the USA, also recommend first person voice.

  • Use a professional looking photograph. No cut-outs/cut-offs, boats, children, spouses, etc. There are exceptions to this rule of course (only a few). LinkedIn statistics show that profiles with pictures perform substantially better than those profiles without pictures
  • Use your personal email address for your account. This ensures you will always have access to your account

New to LinkedIn

  • Complete your profile (LinkedIn research shows members with complete profiles are more successful in securing employment and complete profiles show up higher in search results
  • Invite people to join your network with a personalized/customized note…EVERY time
  • Expand your network by adding people you know (Consider allowing LinkedIn to access your Outlook, Gmail, etc.)
  • Consider including your maiden name (women) in your profile name. This ensures people who knew you before you got married can still find you
  • Fill out your educational history (many people skip this. And join your alumni group)
  • Fill out your employment history, from right after college to present (many people skip this. And join your alumni groups if your organizations have them
  • Take advantage of the New User Guide from LinkedIn

Advanced LinkedIn Content, Positioning, & Messaging

  • Change the website link for your blog from "My Blog" to a proper name such as "The Chief Storyteller Blog"
  • Change the website link for your company/personal site from "My Company" to a proper name such as "The Chief Storyteller® Website"
  • Change the website link for your LinkedIn public profile to a proper name/organization name such as "http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/TheChiefStoryteller"
  • Change the website link for your Twitter account to "Twitter" or your Twitter name such as "chiefstoryteller" 
  • Add into your profile articles and publications you wrote
  • Add into your profile presentations you gave via SlideShare.net
  • Ask for recommendations (helpful article Every Accomplishment Should Be Great: 5 Steps to Compelling Resume Accomplishments)
  • Consider including your LinkedIn address in your email signature
  • Consider upgrading your account to LI Premium
  • Expand your network by adding people that are like-minded (use groups, keywords, 2nd degree connections, and suggestions from LinkedIn)
  • Seek out advice from some of the smartest people in the world (any member can answer your questions - LinkedIn Inmail is a good way)
  • Help write your recommendations to ensure it is on-message - the message you want to communicate
  • Identify and include keywords relevant to audiences that will search for you
  • Join alumni groups to ensure you stay connected with high school, college, and graduate friends and colleagues
  • Join groups for personal development
  • Join professional groups important to your career success
  • Consider re-ordering your Skills. There are two approaches:  Listing your top rated skills and listing the skills you want more "clicks" on.
  • Track statistics for Who's viewed your profile. Identify trends

  • Look closely at Who's viewed your profile. Consider reaching out via LinkedIn InMail or connecting directly
  • Track statistics for Who's viewed your posts
  • For those that viewed your post, consider reaching out via LinkedIn InMail or connecting directly
  • Track statistics for your Actions Taken. Examine what activities you have completed and what ones you should be working on. Don't get caught up in the "gamification" aspect. Do what is right for you.
  • Visit the LinkedIn blog to gain insights and to learn more about changes coming
  • Use the "Follow Company" feature to stay current with organizations you have an interest in joining or learning more about
  • Use the "Saved searches" option to save your favorite search queries
  • Turn off your update notification in your settings when you are revising your profile for content changes, then turn it back on. Leave it on if you want people to know about job changes and other significant changes to your profile.
  • Consider turning your profile summary into one that is story-based 
  • Add the appropriate key words to your profile. Add the words your prospective audiences are searching for and the words you want to be known for - emphasize what your audience's point of view.

Building and Nurturing Your Network  

Ensure what you do share is very interesting and very relevant. LinkedIn is still a "noisy" social media community with articles, updates, announcements, sales solicitations, LinkedIn InMails, Pulse, etc.

  • Send articles of interest you come across from your favorite websites
  • Send articles of interest you come across from your favorite bloggers
  • Answer interesting questions in your groups thoughtful, education-focused responses
  • Share content from your blogs in your updates
  • Share content from your blogs in your Company page
  • Share content from your blogs in your Showcase pages
  • Share content from your articles in your updates
  • Share content from your articles in your Company page
  • Share content from your articles in your Showcase pages
  • Share content from your newsletters in your updates
  • Share content from your newsletters in your Company page
  • Share content from your newsletters in your Showcase pages
  • Share content from your favorite groups (not private)
  • Connect strategically with selected LiONs (LinkedIn Open Networkers) matching your interests to expand your network
  • Leverage advanced search functionality to locate/connect with people with experiences and education like yours to see where they work and where they worked
  • Look through your connections’ connections for good-fit additions for your network
  • Send notes to people in your network when you see status updates or changes to his/her network
  • Share news with appropriate Groups
  • Write recommendations for people in your network. Suggest you ask the person first for keywords and preferred concepts/ideas to write about

Career - Job Seekers / Job Hunters 

There may be some duplicate tips here. I wanted to ensure the tips specific to career were in this list.

  • Download Box.Net and then include your cover letter and resume
  • Help write your recommendations to ensure it is on-message - the message you want to communicate
  • Join professional groups important to your career success
  • Perform competitive intelligence research on the target organizations before applying for a position
  • Perform competitive intelligence research on the target organization's competitors before applying for a position
  • Perform competitive intelligence research on people (e.g., hiring managers) before applying for a position
  • Perform competitive intelligence research on interviewers before your phone screen or in-person interview (e.g., read profiles, do Internet searches, read articles, and read blogs they wrote)
  • Perform competitive intelligence research using the LinkedIn reference check tool on interviewers before your phone screen or in-person interview 
  • Perform competitive intelligence research use advanced search to find current employees. Send a personalized request for a telephone call to discover more information about the prospective organization
  • Perform competitive intelligence research use advanced search to find former employees. Send a personalized request for a telephone call to discover more information about the prospective organization
  • Spend time (a lot) on your Skills. This is an important section as people can search on your skills
  • Search frequently the LinkedIn job opportunities
  • Use the "Follow Company" feature to stay current with organizations you have an interest in joining or learning more about
  • Turn off your update notification in your settings when you are revising your profile then turn it back on. 

59 Veterans Project

I met Jeffrey Ehrenkrantz through an Army veterans LinkedIn group. He is working an awesome project helping both our veterans and national parks.

Here is more information about the 59 Veterans Project. They are expanding their core team and seeking veterans interested in this journey of video discovery.

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Join The 59 Veterans Project on an epic journey of education and discovery that will be created by U.S. Veterans training for a new career in 4K ultra high definition and 3D high-definition videography. The result will be a series of half-hour programs featuring each of America’s 59 National Parks.

Utilizing state of the art 4K ultra high definition and 3D high-definition cameras, our team of videography professionals will teach the veterans field video production techniques. During the course of the project, an onsite producer will provide assignments for these programs which will be viewable online, in various formats including mobile as well as over the air programs.

This ambitious and far reaching year-long project will kick off an ongoing educational program designed to train returning U.S. service men and women to become professional 4K ultra high definition and 3D high-definition videographers. The 59 Veterans Project is just the tip of the iceberg and is a jump starter project that will aid in our larger mission of creating a U.S. National Park Video enterprise that will educate and employ U.S. Veterans for years to come.

We are currently looking to fill positions on our team, both for core team members and veteran participants. If you are interested in applying for a core team position as a chef, assistant chef, driver, or associate producer, please click on their links and fill out our form. We are also looking for veterans, plus a teammate of their choice, as well as bloggers to help tell their story. Preference will given to veterans with the skill to write the stories; it is their unique viewpoint that will add another dimension to the project.

The 59 Veterans Project is a unique and potentially life changing project for all that are involved. We are excited to give back to the veteran community, not only by providing an incredible experience in one of the 59 National Parks, but also educating them in the field of videography by way of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Body Language Non Verbal Communications

We laugh, we wince, and we empathize…sometimes.

We all receive the emails and telephone calls from non-native English speakers. It’s easy to tell the legitimate from the fake.

I received the email pictured below a few days ago from Flora Lawrence, her self-titled "non de plume." Flora is from India and the way the email is written gives me considerable pause.

As such, this is more of an extreme example of what not to do. This tip of the week is for the legitimate professionals and organizations doing business in countries with different languages.

Since Flora’s first email subject line was “Premium website design,” I deleted it while on my personal computer. Her second email, “Re: Premium website design,” I read because I was on my mobile phone and pressed the arrow for next email.

What caught my eye was the first line, “Have you got a chance to overlook my earlier email…” Ignoring the “got” error, “overlook” made me wince and laugh—I absolutely overlooked your first email.

It doesn’t matter what the language is, you have to translate and localize your materials.

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Speaking of localize, here is an example. As I was getting my haircut yesterday, I noticed the bottle in front of me. I read “light styling gel” and then saw the two smaller text lines in French and Spanish. Since I’m a decent conversationalist in Spanish, I gravitated to the message line, “gel un terminado suave.” To me, terminado means end or completed. In context, I knew I had to be wrong here as mine was a literal translation.

I then asked two women at the salon whom I knew were native Spanish speakers. For about three minutes they quickly discussed the word choice. Both agreed “un gel estilo suave” is a better choice. For the curious, in Google Translate “gel un terminado suave” means “over a soft gel” and “un gel estilo suave” means “style soft gel.” Now to me, the crux of this messaging conundrum is whether soft in Spanish is the same as light in English?

By the way, “Xie Xie” is Chinese for thank you.

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Body Language Non Verbal Communications

As an Army veteran (that's me in the picture many years ago), I'm a member of several military and veteran LinkedIn groups. Recently someone posted a nice article titled, "19 Terrible LinkedIn Mistakes You're Making."

Several of the commenters were adamant in keeping a military-style profile picture. And I "adamantly" disagree.

And this is true of everyone. You should ONLY use a professional photograph - "No spouses, no friends, no boats, no dogs..."

Here's the comment I left.

 "If you are using LinkedIn to transition out of the service, then you really should have a corporate-style photograph. No spouses, no friends, no boats, no dogs…just a professional head-shot.

Are you wearing your A's or BDU's to your corporate office? No. I live and work in the Washington, DC area -- No matter where you are, there is a government agency or military office. We are very used to seeing people in and out of uniform, especially reservists. This is not an issue of pride or identity in regard to the uniform.

I’m a very proud vet and proud of those before me, serving now, and future. I want you to have the very best advantage you can when transitioning. You only have one chance for a first impression. Having helped hundreds of veterans from all services with their career transitions and LinkedIn profiles, I know people are hiring you for the future, based on your past (same is true for everyone).

They need to see you are ready for corporate/association/government life. And the picture is the first…the first element in LinkedIn someone will see. LinkedIn is not a resume…it is your representation of what image you want to present. It should be all about your accomplishments.

Since you are being hired based on your military experiences, put "Army Veteran" in your professional headline. If you really want to showcase your service accomplishments with pictures, create a PDF or PowerPoint and upload it to SlideShare for free and provide a link to prospective employers. [I’d be happy to share with anyone several career articles on resumes, answering “tell me about yourself,” and LinkedIn. Also be happy to review any current service member or vet’s LinkedIn profile]"

Body Language Non Verbal Communications

Imagine you are delivering your standard 60-minute presentation. Your audience will understand most of what you say quickly, appreciate your humor (hopefully...), assume your body language is coordinated with your talking points, recognize the use of appropriate colors for the points (e.g., red is a problem area while green is a positive area), and more.

Not always true with international audiences.

When speaking internationally, successfully engaging your audiences becomes more complex. You have to account for differences in greetings, customs, traditions, hand gestures, colors, and more. One common custom is to thank a variety of people – the host, guests, dignitaries, etc.–before you begin your talk. This could be as long as five minutes…not a big deal in a 60-minute presentation…a huge deal if you are speaking for 15 minutes.

With you words, you are leaving nuances, metaphors, sayings, body language, interpretation, etc. in the hands of your translator. Additionally, English is a “shorter” language. Many other languages require more words to say the same thing.

Ira Koretsky, our CEO, ALWAYS spends a few minutes with the translator beforehand, reviewing the purpose of the presentation, high-level ideas, and words/concepts not likely common (e.g., elevator speech, executive story, business story, and networking). He also asks for the words/phrases in the native language so that he may use them in his presentation.

As a result, we suggest reducing your content at least 30% and perhaps as much as 50%.

Items to consider:

- Synchronization: With a simultaneous translator, your audience will be at least 15 seconds behind you in comprehension and timing in your program. If you have complex ideas, perhaps 30 seconds. It takes a little getting used to.
- Language: There are numerous examples of poorly translated words from one language to another that are embarrassing. Check before you go or change your words.
- Examples: Instead of giving one example, we suggest giving two or three examples to illustrate your point.

Body Language Non Verbal Communications

Do you think about what you say when talking? Of course you do. Do you think about your voice and your body language as well? Few people do. When you speak, you are using your words, voice, and body. For most people, the blending of these components comes natural.

What doesn’t come natural is how to purposefully use each of these three separately and together to heighten drama, improve rapport, emphasize points, and a lot more…

Going forward, I’d like to encourage you to think differently and think deliberately about how you use your words, voice, and body. For this tip, let’s focus on body language and how to build suspense.

Next time you are going to share a story or experience with a known moment of suspense, use your body deliberately rather than naturally. Complement your words and voice to heighten the dramatic moment.

At a high level, you are looking to add intensity to your words with your body. Adding intensity makes your story more interesting and memorable.

Experiment, mix, and test to find the ones that work best for you and your story.

1)  Posture:  Stand straight up and really stiffen your body like a wood board. Perhaps even clench your jaw

2)  Make a Fist:  Squeeze your hands and make them into fists

3)  Eyes:  Open them wide, really wide and at the same time, slightly move your head and
shoulders backward

4) Arms:  Make exaggerated arm motions while stopping “abruptly,” almost as if your arm was momentarily like a robot

5)  Watch other speakers and presenters. Watch how how the speaker uses his/her body. Would you do the same thing?  What would you do differently? Free resources include TED, TEDx, University Business Schools (e.g., Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford), Company Speaker Series (Google and LinkedIn),  Political Speeches, and more.

6)  Blend:  As you become comfortable using the above techniques, deliberately alternate and blend these suspense techniques together.

Body Language Non Verbal Communications

Cultural differences are sometimes easy to see, understand, and adopt. Others, not to easy.

If you are traveling to another country or interacting with an audience with different cultural backgrounds, be sensitive to language, humor, traditions, and taboos.

For this tip of the week, let’s focus on hand gestures. There are many nuanced and obvious hand gesture differences. Research the country thoroughly to avoid embarrassment as well as the potential for your audience to focus on the "wrong" things rather than your message and you.

Purchase books, ask your local embassy for advice, and use your network to meet/talk with people who grew up in the respective country.

Here are two illustrative examples with answers immediately below.

 

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A few weeks ago, Ira presented a half-day “Executive Storytelling” program to nearly 70 social change leaders from more than 50 countries.

They were the Fellows from the Atlas Corps’ Class 18 “Welcome Week.” One of Ira’s big take-aways was Find the Right Balance. Here is his summary from his blog post.

“Many of the Fellows were tackling sensitive culture, justice, and historical issues. Some of the issues were heart breaking and would bring tears to your eyes hearing some of the stories. I encouraged the Fellows to share these stories while keeping in mind that tugging on someone's heart to inspire them to be part of the solution, you must find the right balance of emotion and benefit.

In general, people do not want to be overwhelmed with an emotional appeal. They want a reasoned set of arguments with clear benefits. Weave your emotional appeal just enough so that your audience truly understands what is at stake. Empathy over sympathy.”

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