She Grows with Allyson Scammell
In today’s episode we explore:
- The components of a good story
- Story-telling No-No’s
- Tips to start using storytelling more thoughtfully in your business
Listen + Subscribe on iTunes.
She Grows with Allyson Scammell
In today’s episode we explore:
Listen + Subscribe on iTunes.
References & Resources:
She Grows with Allyson Scammell
Ep #13: Using Storytelling to Make your Sales Conversations More Fascinating, Credible, and Memorable with David Lee
[00:00:00] Welcome to the show. This is Allyson Scammell. And I absolutely love the topic of this episode and the guest today, I speak to coach and consultant David Lee about using the art of storytelling to make our sales conversations more fascinating, credible and memorable.
[00:00:23] Welcome to She Grows, a podcast for soul guided women entrepreneurs ready to grow their income, impact and inspiration each week. We’re going to explore how to align to the soul of your business and grow it from there. I’m your host, Allyson Scammell. Let’s get growing.
[00:00:49] David Lee is a coach and consultant who has been using and teaching storytelling as a therapeutic coaching and communication modality for over 25 years. His work has been published in a book for therapists and numerous business publications, and he has presented at conferences on this topic throughout the U.S.. David and I end our conversation on a super fun challenge that will have you using storytelling in a way that serves your business. So be sure to stick with us until the end.
[00:01:27] Welcome, David. I am so thrilled you’re here and I’m just so crazy excited to be exploring this topic with you. Welcome. Thank you. Great to be here. Oh, my gosh. And I want to mention that you are a very, very special person in my life for a lot of reasons. But you have been my husband’s career coach, and it’s amazing how it’s so fun to work with the awesome guy. Oh, thank you. He calls me his wife coach, but he doesn’t always take my advice. So, so glad you came along. You’re just such a gifted and amazing person. So I am just thrilled to unpack this topic with you. So let’s start out with, if you would, describe your journey to becoming a good storyteller. How has this helped you in your life and business?
[00:02:17] Yeah, it’s so interesting. You mentioned about he doesn’t a Pete doesn’t always take your head high is because that actually is what launched me into storytelling. So my first career out of grad school was as an addictions counselor. And I naively thought that and actually just stop for a second that because I was low person on the totem pole at this agency, I got all the people who had to go to see a counselor or go to jail versus people who wanted to do their work. And I was under the naive impression that they would thank me for pointing out that they had a drink from and saving their lives. Yeah. And not only do they not thank me. They just never came back. And I did what oftentimes a lot of therapists do, but also a lot of coaches, a lot of parents do is if somebody is not listening to us. We blame the other person like they’re in denial. They can’t handle the truth, etc.. And even though I sort of felt good about like, yeah, it’s all about them. It wasn’t helping me because I had my wide open schedule. And so luckily I had heard people talking about in the agency that I worked at. This this thing called neuro linguistic programming or NLP. Have you ever heard of an LP?
[00:03:35] Yes. I lived in Europe for 10 years and they use this expression all the time over there, much more than in the United States. So it’s very, very common in Europe.
[00:03:44] Ok. There you go. So you say you know about that. And so they’re talking about the amazing ability that clinicians using an LP had to work with people who were really resistant, intractable, et cetera. And so I happened to read a book by one of the Ed l.p books by this author who was giving a workshop, a five day workshop in Florida. Some, like, cool sign me up. And I’d mentioned to you before about before we went on air. I’m not real detail guy. I didn’t even notice that the topic wasn’t an LP.
[00:04:19] So I get there and the topic is on hypnotherapy and therapeutic storytelling. And I was lucky enough to study under Milton Erickson, his most preeminent students in the area of therapeutic storytelling. So he was an absolute legend in terms of revolutionizing what hypnotherapy was about, but also being the first person to use therapeutic storytelling in a very intentional speak to the unconscious mind kind of way. And it’s like it just opened my eyes to what was possible in communication other than just confronting people with reality. And so what ended up happening in using that approach instead of instead of my, quote, good advice and insights, been met with resistance and denial. People started wanting to hear what I had to say. And I loved it that that people used to describe Erickson’s approach as a therapy of politeness, because you think about it when you tell a story. The person is just listening to a story. It’s not like you need to do this. Or have you looked at this? It’s like, oh, they’re telling me a story about such and such.
[00:05:38] Yeah. It reminds me of what Donald Miller, who is the founder of Story Brand and the story brand is about using the art of storytelling to in your sales copy, you know, basing your whole business around a story. And what he says, which I find really fascinating, is that people only have they need to conserve energy throughout the day as part of our sort of innate instinctual way to survive. And so we we think even though it’s the 21st century that we might need to conserve energy in case we have to confront a bear in the woods. Right. That’s sort of a primal thing that we humans have. And by presenting information as a story, it takes a lot of energy to consume it, to understand it. People just take it on easily. So when we are bombarded with information all day, we pick the things that we know that it won’t take much energy to receive, digested. Understand, that’s why people always gravitate to stories it does that land for one hundred percent and that’s actually a no.
[00:06:51] Later we’ll talk about sales copy, but that’s one of the big reasons why you want to do story based sales copy or story based articles and books, because it’s so much harder for the brain to process abstract concepts because and if if your listener Google’s brain is our brains are hardwired for storytelling, you’ll come across at least one article. I think there’s even a book on that that you think about. Wisdom was passed on for generations through storytelling. And so that’s just so much easier on the brain. Absolutely. Nice. Absolutely. So actually, if I can build on that, because I want to make makes I’m trying to both answer your question also kind of step aside for the listener to point out. Like the teaching of the story. So what I just did is an example of an origin story. So you assiut like how I got in to this. So when people ask you like, so how did you start your business or why do you why do you do what you do? You want to have your origin story. It’s also an example of what I think of as a pain and promise story. And I’ll give you one other example of that, which you definitely want to do when you’re speaking or when you’re writing. And so I oftentimes well, a, I use that story because it’s the truth.
[00:08:19] And it’s what really launched me. But it’s also for people who are coaches, therapists or leaders. Any more parents they can relate to the pain of trying to be helpful. And it’s falling on deaf ears and that frustration. And so sometimes I’ll tell a longer version of that to really get the person into feeling like, oh, man, I know, I know what that’s like. So you you a pain and promise story helps a person access their pain, like, okay. Yes, I. I don’t want this pain anymore. And the promises like, hey, this is what happens when you use this solution. So that’s that. The other really seminal moment about what really got me into using storytelling, not just in the one on one, but the one too many. And again, I share this intentionally for listeners, be able to relate. That is, I saw a story. Keep somebody from dying on stage. And what happened was so I used to teach in the Mind-Body medicine field and I can pick. This is like over 20 years ago. It’s 25 years ago now. I can still picture this huge auditorium at Hilton Head, whatever the hotel was, and there was an icon in the mind body medicine field up on stage.
[00:09:42] And he was the lucky guy who do the after lunch.
[00:09:47] Yeah, everyone is fine. Exactly.
[00:09:49] So about 1000 people in the ballroom. And he’s like really passionate about his topic is something about the importance of of connecting with patients as a human and not as a diagnosis and bubble, blah. And he’s like really passionate about it. But he’s dying on stage and nobody cares. And I just feel the life sucking out of me and as I’m sort of like slipping into a coma, I just sort of look around. I can see everybody else is just fading. And I don’t know if you psych up Plan B, Plan B or you already decided this, but he shifted it to telling a story and he’s like something like it reminds me of a time I had this patient, Barbara, and that is funny. I felt like being risen from the downward rise up and I could feel the energy, not just mine, but in the room shift because he was telling a story.
[00:10:45] And all these years later you remember it like it was a.
[00:10:48] Barbara and I read it was yesterday. So two things. One is to your point about all those years later, you remember it. Highly recommend your listeners read Made to stick. Why? What? Some messages are sticky. They last with you forever. And others like in one ear and out the other. And one of the six characteristics is they’re delivered through stories. Because you think about when you think about presentations you’ve listened to over the years, you don’t remember the bullet points, you remember the stories. So before we move on from there, that’s another example of a pain and promise story, because any whether it’s an entrepreneur or any kind of thought leader knows what it’s like to be bombing on stage or like the audiences and into this, like, why aren’t they? Because they’re not telling stories.
[00:11:39] Yes. Yes. So I’ve just myself being called to tell a quick story. When I used to work for Naito and I used to do development and humanitarian work. I got asked to deliver a presentation about civilians, humanitarian organizations and military working together in conflict at a group of military officers. And I was going instead of a two star general and they were all expecting a two star general. And I showed up and I feel like I just bombed. That was like and I’m a pretty good speaker. I’m good on my feet. But that was a time where I was just like, whoa, I lost my audience. They were like, who’s this young woman? We’re not interested. How do you think I could have pulled that around with a good. How could. How could I have pulled that back?
[00:12:31] They’re so super cool. There’s two things that come up for me. One is, as you’re saying, that it reminds of, you know, who Adam Grant is. So really amazing young guy. He’s now he’s something like, say, 36 or 37. When he was in his early 30s, he was already Wharton’s most number one rated professor. And I actually got a chance to interview him before he became super famous. Like brilliant, really cool guy. And he looks really young for his age, too. So he talks about speaking to a group of generals and he thought, I’ve got a show that I’m I really know my stuff. And he really tried to demonstrate his his, you know, street cred and everything. And he bombed and they hated him. And he realized this didn’t work. So the next time when he walks up in front of them, he goes, just want to point out the obvious.
[00:13:31] I am 12 years old, but I do a hopefully I’ll have something to show. So he makes a joke about about like, I know I’m not what you’re expected and blah. And they absolutely loved him. Oh, wow. So. So number one, that’s an example of using a story I have just said. You can make a joke. You like, OK, but if you hear a story, it just makes it a little more interesting. Yeah. And the answer the other thing you’re saying that reminds me of I was asked or I found out about this request to do A sort of like B, the warm up act for this person who’s internationally known on story telling for some event in Portland. And I found out about it 90 minutes before the event. Oh. Yeah. And the only reason why I was able to say yes is I was able to identify like three or four stories I could tell that would that would resonate with the audience.
[00:14:30] And I just strung them together. So let’s say in that situation, I would definitely acknowledge you might have noticed I’m not the stu to help to start something like that. Right. And you know what I would do? I would tell a self-effacing story with a twist.
[00:14:48] And I’ll give you I will tell you the whole story, because I know I’ve got a lot ahead of us. But sometimes what I will do oftentimes more fits in the state of Maine. And people might think, oh, this is, you know, David Lee from down the road. You know, he’s just a local boy kind of thing. I will share a story about I’ll just give you the takeaway message. I did a keynote in Australia several years ago, and without knowing it, I was blowing my nose in the bathroom and had my wireless mike on. It was broadcast throughout the audience. So there’s a whole story to that. And and sometimes I will lead off a talk with that as a self-effacing story, but also lets some know I’m not from just around the corner like a bat around. Yeah.
[00:15:34] So that might be something that’s interesting because I was, you know, a a young woman and I had served in Iraq and Afghanistan and Sudan. And I. My boots were dirty and probably had more experience in conflict environments than a lot of the military people in the audience. So that could have been I could’ve told a story, not braggy, as you’re suggesting. You don’t wanna be like, hey, I know everything. Right. So the self-effacing I love that that could have been a way to get their attention and also say, hey, I’ve got something to offer here that might be useful for you. Pay attention to me. Absolutely. All right. Well, I love where we’re going with this. So can you tell us the components of a good story?
[00:16:18] You know, I was when people asked me that it’s such a obviously important question. And it’s funny, after all these years, I still struggle with it because it’s it’s for me, it’s more intuitive. But here’s here’s what I what I come up with that one of the analogies that I like to give people is to think of if they’ve never listened to a sports announcer announce some sporting event over the radio, they can at least imagine what that’s like. And you think about let’s say it’s a hockey game. So if it’s a hockey announcer notes in the hockey game, they can’t say, well, that was just amazing what what Joe Schmo did. And then and then Bill. Oh, yeah, he did. That was really good. How was amazing. Save it. Do you know that just saying that sort of again, abstract concept of what’s going on? You’re like, I have no idea what’s going on. They describe they paint a picture in your mind of what’s going on. So it’s almost like they’re creating virtual reality movie. That’s what you want to do. You want to give that kind of detail. So the person can create it like a movie, a running movie in their head. That being said. Not. Not irrelevant detail. You know, like oftentimes couples like like one partner will start telling a story and the other one’s like, it doesn’t matter whether it’s on Thursday or Saturday, Bob. It’s not like so thinking about what kind of detail paints the picture, what kind of details not necessary. So that’s a huge point. Another. As an I can I can see where this is, where you’re really good at, it is really embody this story. So get into it, have energy for it, because as you know, a lot of your communication, the power of it is in the energy, the the the non-verbal. It’s not just the words, it’s you’re you’re broadcasting. Yeah. Yeah. So that’s really big. A couple of other points. Are. Thinking up stories that are more like drama movies than documentaries. So there’s drama, there’s conflict, there’s surprise, there’s mystery, there’s fascination.
[00:18:47] And later, when we go to talk more about like where do you find stories and that sort of thing? I’ll talk more about fascination. And I guess the the other a sort of simple recommendation I have for people is just pay attention when people tell you stories to notice what storytellers capture attention. Others are kind of boring and like, okay, what’s the difference here?
[00:19:09] Yeah, I like that. I like that. So how about some storytelling? No knows what things we should avoid. If we’re going to incorporate storytelling in our.
[00:19:21] And whatever. Yeah. So a big one that I found over the years with people is whether. You use the metaphore of they’re talking about it at 30000 feet or the metaphore. They just give you the executive summary or the metaphor of the cliff notes. Big mistake, so let me give you examples. Actually, this came to me this morning. I thought this might be. Hopefully will be a fun way of explain it. So imagine a little child go into their dad and saying, Daddy, can you tell me a story?
[00:19:55] And the father goes, Oh, sure, I’ll tell you the story of the three little pigs. And the father goes. So there are three pigs. They build houses of different strength and integrity. Two are slackers in there. Their houses got blown over by a wolf. One the industrious one the slacker has got to live with. The industrious ones saved their lives. So don’t be a slacker. And then the kids kids like, OK, dad, a mommy tell his story. So that’s you know, that’s like an overview. It’s not a story. Right. The story is like you’re there. So, for example, the guy died on stage, hopefully, as you heard that. It’s like you can imagine being there.
[00:20:41] Yeah, I’ve been there. I was immediately transplanted to an Iowas bombing on say it. And you dealt with it. Right.
[00:20:49] Exactly. And that I love that you said that, because that’s one of the most important reasons for using stories. I remember Milton there. Back to Milton Erics, Dr. Milton Erickson. He said, if you want somebody to remember their childhood, tell stories about your childhood. It’s the way the brain. It’s human nature. It’s the way the brain works. The only way we can understand what people are saying is if we connect our own experiences with that. So by you sharing a story, it helps the other person retrieve their own examples. Actually, can’t give you an example of that place, is there? What would be an example in your life where you’re thinking either? I didn’t think I could do it. And I did it.
[00:21:38] Or you look back and say, man, if I could do that, I can face whatever this challenge is, quitting a gold-plated job that nobody quits to launch a business.
[00:21:49] And I I did something that no one else does. And in fact, nobody and nobody quit the job. I was at the H.R. People didn’t know what to do. They only knew how to handle retirement paperwork. They didn’t know how to handle resignation paperwork. And I did it and everybody said you’re you’re making a huge mistake, Alison. People don’t leave these gold plated jobs. You’re going to be a what, a life coach? What is that? That’s hokey. And I did it. And I’m pretty successful at it now. Awesome. Yeah.
[00:22:23] So let’s say if let’s say if I were being your quote story coach, I’d say like, oh, man, this is the foundation of an awesome story of awesome origin story. And a if I could do that, you could do this story. So I was going to say a few things and then how people would use this sort of thing. So if I were coaching you on this, I would ask you a series of questions for you to walk through your process and not necessarily, although this would be part of it, your process in the outside world, like I talked to five life coaches and that not that sort of thing, but more your internal world.
[00:23:04] Like I found myself thinking, what about if I go for it? And a year later I have one client and I have to face my family or the people who said you were nuts to do be a life coach. What? You know, whatever it was.
[00:23:18] And and as you. Came up or come up with your in your fee, like putting words to your fears. The the what I call like the Stephen King Horror Film Festival, yell video movies of what can happen. And then. In context, let’s say you’re coaching somebody who’s afraid to make the leap as you share your story with them. What happens with them is not only does it shift their physical. So let me say let’s say you’re working with somebody who is afraid to leave corporate and and you see possibility for them. But they they don’t. And they’re like all slumped down in the physiology of hopelessness and disempowerment. You tell that story as you tell your story. They’re not feeling like, oh, Alison’s trying to convince me I can. They’re like, wow, Alison is sharing her story. So there’s no like, oh, you don’t understand, sister. You know, you don’t say it. And so as you tell your story and you shift from the like the scared, Alison, to like, I’m going to do this, Alison, there’s that feedback loop of energy. And as far as your Kochi is listening, they’re shifting state. And as you’re talking about first like that, I can’t do it stuff. They’re like, oh, man, I know that. I know that it’s tapping into theirs. And then as you shift into the like, I can do this. That shifts them into memories, whether it’s consciously or unconsciously of when they had that. I can do this state. And now that they’re in that empowered state, you think about it. They they can start think seen opportunities that they couldn’t when they were in that disempowered state. Does that make sense?
[00:25:11] Oh, my gosh, it does. It’s so beautiful. So good. Yeah. And you’re not you know, as a coach, I’m I always say I never give advice. You know, when I my coach had on, my mentor had on, I might give a bit of advice. But as a coach, I never do. And this is just a way to to create these powerful shifts and open up these possibilities without giving advice. Absolutely. Because nobody knows what’s better for themselves than themselves. Right. Got it. Absolutely. That is so beautiful. So let’s pivot to how we can use good’s storytelling in our businesses to grow our businesses.
[00:25:51] Absolutely. So I’ll start off with speaking and then go to writing. So one of the things I always recommend people doing so let’s say it’s a person gets like five minutes. They sponsored event to talk about their business. Don’t talk about your business in terms of like I do, blah, blah, blah. Tell a story about somebody you’ve helped and and doing that pain and promise story and so emphasize the pain.
[00:26:19] So people are like, oh yeah, I know what that’s like. And then share the promise. Like, here’s what happened when I work with them and they’re like, I want some of that.
[00:26:28] Number one. Number two, when you’re speaking, I encourage people to whenever they make a point, especially if it seems well, by nature, quote, making a point is conceptual and abstract is say, for instance. And then give a forinstance or for example, and then either give a short example or or an actual short story. So those are two when you’re speaking really must dos energy questions.
[00:26:58] So, you know, I run a lot of group classes and I like to give examples through stories from my life. But then I have the thought, oh, I’m spending too much time talking about myself. How can you mitigate that feeling or is it what do you do?
[00:27:14] Any thoughts on. Yeah. I love that. So here’s what I do. I will sometimes just be very explicit with people.
[00:27:21] I will say I’m sharing I’m sharing this story with you, not because I need to tell it, because I want you to be thinking about your own example of this. Another examples, something I do a lot of programs on. How do you have courageous conversations? And I’ll say.
[00:27:39] I’m going to be sharing with you what what went on in my head, because I want you to be thinking about what goes on inside your head when you’re dreading having this conversation where you’re holding a resentment about somebody. So for some people in some context, I just straight up say this is why I tell you that, why I’m sharing news stories.
[00:28:00] And I also will say, as I’m sure you know, that we’re much more likely to remember stories than than, you know, bullet points.
[00:28:09] Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Like that. Yeah. Very good.
[00:28:14] Oh, OK. So more in business. Highly recommend using pain stories and pain and promise stories in your writing, so I’ll give you a writing version. I’m Laura, like up. Informational writing version and then a sales copy version. So I do a lot of the work that I do is more in the corporate environment. And so.
[00:28:44] An example of doing a story based article and actually just a quick F.Y.I, I’m going to put together a resource page for your listeners on one of my Web sites and I’ll have examples of all this, including video, audio. That’s great. Yes. Thank you so much. Yeah, definitely Cabildo.
[00:29:03] So this article was the title was How an Employer Lost an A-list Player and How You Can Avoid Doing the Same. So nice. Yeah, nice title. And then it starts off with a story about this amazing young woman that I met at a conference. And when I had an and she was so impressive. I reached out to her a year later just to see how she was doing. And she loved her job. At the time I spoke at this conference she was in the audience, had great input, and she was no longer working there. Like, wow. Do tell. Because she’d loved her job at the time. And she told me what this company did that made her go from I love my job to. I’m out of here. And so you think about how for employers, losing talent is a huge issue, that if I just did this academic kind of Rite Aid, the reader would disappear in in moments. But if there’s a story there like, oh, my God, I don’t want that to happen to Sally and Bill and Trevor. Okay. Like let I got a read on. So pain. So that was a pain story in a an educational piece. There’s a UNEF, you know, Bill Barron. He’s a coach. He’s more of a business. Well, not more of he’s a business coach. And I remember reading this was an easy thing that he did. I thought, man, you’re good because he said he was at a party and there was a lady there at the party that he remembered who had talked with him about being a coaching client seven years before. And he said, I was early on. It’s something like a solo. I don’t remember the details. I’m going to riff on. Okay. And a said I at the time, I was afraid of being really pushy.
[00:31:02] And so I didn’t challenge her excuses for why she wasn’t ready to do this. And as I’m at the party and I’m listening to her, she’s stuck in the same job, having the same problems, feeling the same despair.
[00:31:18] And I’m thinking. What would have happened if I’d been more bold in offering her help?
[00:31:26] Is that damn good or was is that good? Yes. So that’s a great.
[00:31:30] I mean, think about coaches who are like, I want to know what he knows. Did him say. Yeah. So that’s that’s an example of a pain story that that would hit. Like any coach.
[00:31:44] How would you approach storytelling and see a sales conversation?
[00:31:48] Actually, the same tools. Let me give you an example. Using a story of that. So this is this is kind of a sad story. So this man reached out to me to do some network. He thinks you’re cool. He was just starting a consulting business on like safety safety issues in manufacturing environments. So we sit down and I thought this was going to be a conversation while he whips open his laptop and proceeded to do a PowerPoint presentation on his new business. And even. Like take you know, put aside the fact that this wasn’t like what I imagined, let’s say it was a logit sales call and I knew like he wanted to offer his solution. I’m thinking, oh my God. Because what? What he was doing was like giving the history of accidents and injuries and statistics and all this stuff that I could care less about. In all this, like me, me, me, stuff that like, you know, I’m happy for you. But like, I’m more like, you know, the same w I AFM what’s in it for me? There is no what’s in it for the listener. And I was so moved by that.
[00:33:08] How horrible it was. Actually wrote an article in is titled Something like How Not to Bore People in Your SALES presentation a day I published on Linked-In and later at a venture capital firms Web site. Well, after my Linked-In post, I get an email from him.
[00:33:24] Whoops, SRF thank god I was said Caty, or snarky about it. I was very I was very candid, but I didn’t do any Digg’s. We said I I’m really sorry I bored you, Mike. Oh, my, oh, my.
[00:33:39] You know, you’ll hopefully you got it in the spirit. That was. It wasn’t like be mean. And I’m happy to like like pro bono, like work with you, like free session, like how you can change us. So that’s example of pain, a pain story and the promise. Well, that’s like a would have bad promise if we would work together for him. What I would have suggested is come out like guns blazing with a star. Like a star. Let’s say a story where somebody got severely injured or killed on the job and it all could have been prevented if such and such it happened. And even if I’m not in the safety and loss prevention mismanaged, I feel I’m like, yo, tell me more. So start out with a bang that captures the interest of the listener and taking it outside of me, me, me.
[00:34:39] And think about, you know, that saying it advertising, enter the conversation that’s going on in your your customers mind. Think about what are the things that are most troubling to your would be client or customer and tell a story that resonates with them.
[00:34:56] Nice. So a lot of my clients don’t like to have sales conversations because they’re just there. They’re holding back. They’re scared. They feel like people are so sick of getting pitched all the time in social media, newsfeeds are just full of offers and they don’t want to contribute to the noise. And so they don’t have the sales conversation. Therefore, they don’t offer up their services in a lot of. Amazing opportunities get lost because they didn’t just say, hey, if you’re interested in this, you can go deeper with me and I offer this thing that could possibly help you. So how can story-telling in a sales conversation help people who feel hesitant to have the sales conversation because they don’t want to come across the sales?
[00:35:50] So here’s here’s how I think of it.
[00:35:54] It’s first off, my sense is probably your ideal client is very mission driven and service driven. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So I say soul. Got it. Yes. Which I love.
[00:36:06] Oh, I love.
[00:36:09] Yeah. So here’s the way I think about it. You know, the term edutainment.
[00:36:15] So it’s and they say, yeah. Yeah. It’s like education. It’s entertaining. Yeah.
[00:36:21] Especially in. It’s always been the case. The more entertaining, the more people care about the education. In today’s world it’s a must have. It must be entertaining. And so what I think of as I think of for anybody. Even if there isn’t a soul based, heart centered, mission driven. It’s just smart. It’s just wise to think about what are some of the most useful stories I can share that people would find fun to listen to. And it also offers value. I love that. Yeah. So even if even if they don’t buy a thing from me, they’ll walk away with value.
[00:37:11] That’s so good. Yeah. Then the next time they meet me, they might want to buy it for me. Exaggeratedly. Exactly. So good.
[00:37:19] And I that’s the same thing in networking with people.
[00:37:24] It’s like don’t be thinking about like oh I have to be there like this schmoozy slimy like hey, let me tell you what I’m about. Kind of. It’s like, no, just come up with some of your coolest stories that relate to the people that you want to serve.
[00:37:42] So, for instance, I know we talked off here about you’ve got some amazing stories to want to do one and then we can play with it.
[00:37:51] Yeah, I would love it. I’d be honored. So we. Yeah. You know, I had a dentist write a story that maybe a kid mentioned you and you could kind of coach me through how I could share it with my audience. I don’t know. It just it just came to me intuitively, like this is the story that wants to be looked at. And again, I used to work in development and humanitarian affairs for 17 years. And I lived in conflict zones and for a number of those years. And I spent a year in Iraq in the early days of the of the latest conflict from 2003, 2004. And at one point, I got asked kind of randomly, it was not a site. It was not part of my normal role to participate on the advance team of the ambassador, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, who was going up to the north part of the country to do some site visits and doing a trip for an ambassador. And a super active war zone is no small feat. There’s his obviously first and foremost, is his safety his or her safety and security. Right. And then it’s just getting him to the right people and really giving him an agenda that is really valuable and impactful and worth the ambassador taking a whole day to go on a site visit somewhere.
[00:39:17] And so I got asked to be on his advance team to go a couple days early and get everything set. And when I arrived to this advanced team, it was me and about 11 Navy SEALs. And I was like, okay, I’ve never served in the military. I’ve always been a civilian. I don’t have any of that kind of training. And then they said, all right, our transportation is gonna be here in about 30 minutes. And I was like, okay, I wasn’t sure, like if we were going by ground, like, how are we gonna get up to the northern part of the country? It was a time in the conflict where it was really, really volatile. And, you know, it was just a really dangerous time to be traveling by road and out and about. So all of a sudden, I see on the horizon about six Black Hawk helicopters coming my way. And I was standing on a helicopter pad and I was like, wow, my transportation has just arrived.
[00:40:17] And it was this moment, David, where I just said to myself so profoundly, how did I get here in life? How did I arrive here? I am terrified. I’m with eleven Navy SEALs who are super trained and they were all super excited to get on these Blackhawks and go. And I was just such the fish out of water, like, I don’t belong here. How did I get here? I want to run screaming home, but I can’t. I’m stuck. I can’t leave. That’s how I felt. I suppose I could have. But the the thought that I had at the time is that the only choice I had was to get on the helicopter and go.
[00:41:02] So this is a great example. When people people ask, like, where do I find stories to tell? Very few listeners will have something is like, whoa, is that. But the takeaway is the same to reflect on experiences you’ve had in life that are very memorable. And then you can figure out later how you want to use the story. But think about anything that stands out for you. And then also even more importantly, moving forward, any sort of situation that happens even throughout the day, that’s not as big as that that you like. So that was wild or wow. That took me off guard or caught me off guard. Note to self there’s a story there. So in that. So that’s a great example of you don’t have the starting point is like something that had an impact on you. So when you’re saying like, how did I get here to this terrifying place? Can you say a little more about more about what that meant to you? Like, how did I get here? And I don’t want to get on the helicopter.
[00:42:07] Yeah, I was just like, how did I make a series of decisions that got me here? Like, I just couldn’t like.
[00:42:19] Could I go back in time and say, you know, no, I’m not going to go to Iraq or no, I won’t be on the advance team or no, I won’t do humanitarian assistance in war zones? Like, where could I have gone back in my life and said, no, that would have gotten me someplace safer.
[00:42:39] It was really a profound a profound question. How did I get here? Like, how did I keep saying yes to get me here?
[00:42:48] Yeah, man. OK. So this is a great example of you can use the same story for multiple purposes. So let’s let’s say you’re working with somebody. Whoo! You can see they’re on a very bad trajectory. And you know, if you challenge them directly, they’re just going to, you know, get defensive. You could tell that story up to this point. The point that you shared it. And that would be a great way to. Get the person to be thinking about where the sum total of our our choices are decisions. Now, if I let’s say if I were if I were you and I and I was telling that situation, that story for this for that purpose, I might I would then. We’ll link that. Really? Whoa. Dramatic story of a decision tree to a more prosaic one that that person might relate to. And so so I’ll be you OK for a second. So. So I’m thinking back like as these. Straight out of Apocalypse Now, these Blackhawk Black Hawks are settling down. And the sound of the rotor when the wind. I’m like, oh, my God. Yeah. Like this. These thoughts are racing through my mind. How did I get here? And, you know, they say how, like people say they’re about to die or think they’re going to die. Their life flashes before their eyes. That’s kind of what was happy to this.
[00:44:28] This rapid sense of of the different decisions that, yes, yess I made that got me here versus someplace safer. And when they asked me if I was up for doing X and I said yes, because I didn’t want to seem like I wasn’t a go getter, I was. I was trying to put on like like a strong, high initiative persona. I mean, that’s who I am. But I really want to impress upon them. And because I was more concerned about what they thought than me than what I thought. I said yes. When looking back, I’m on the tarmac like, damn, I should have said no. And there were a bunch of steps along the way. And and, you know, even though that’s an extreme example, I know their example. There’s things in all of our lives less extreme, like, for instance, and this actually comes from Arizona hypnotherapy, where you called it truisms when we we use a line that helps connect people to universal experiences. So like, who hasn’t had the experience of getting warning signs in a relationship where this person is in a really good match for me? But we ignore them and then months turn into cetera. Zero. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So that would be that would be awesome. Like super powerful story for that. Now, what happened when you got on the helicopter? Like what happened next?
[00:45:56] So I get on and it and then it kind of I got on. I absolute I was terrified. I was shaking and I couldn’t the the seat belts on a Blackhawk are very complicated. They’re like a four way seat belt with lots of different buckles because, you know, obviously you want to be very well belted in. And I couldn’t figure it out. And I realized that the guys were sort of fighting over who got to help me put my right my my seat belt on. Yes. I was a young woman, but I also realized immediately that I in that moment was the VIP. I was the person that they were all thinking, we’re going to keep her safe. Yeah, because that’s how they’re trained. They’re trained in keeping people safe. And I was the one who I was the VIP. I was the very important person. And that was something super cool. I was so touched and like, they are all here to protect me and keep me alive and take a bullet for me. And it was just it was beyond touching. It was moving that I knew I knew that they would do that. I knew that they would take the bullet for me. And that’s not figuratively.
[00:47:11] That’s literal. Literally. Yeah, absolutely. So, so awesome salvage. Oh, this is so awesome. So two things come to mind.
[00:47:21] So one is that would be a great like telling up to that part of the story, a great metaphor for four really gifted soul based entrepreneurs who are like who in my you know, to toot my horn especially, let’s say I’ve got something.
[00:47:46] Let’s say there’s some like, quote, super successful entrepreneur that they know they have something that would help that person. But that person’s in the external world way more, quote, successful than that. Mike, who am I to say I’ve got something that could help them? You telling that story? You see, the reframe is like totally shifts the perspective and. You can better believe they will never forget that story.
[00:48:15] Yeah, I love that.
[00:48:16] So and the other point that again, with your audience this is I’d say this is totally appropriate. Whatever is talking about helpers seen and unseen. Like you were going into this scary, unknown, uncharted territory and you were protected. Absolutely.
[00:48:37] Absolutely. About as protected as a person you love and you feel great.
[00:48:44] Well, and then I love how you were talking, unpacking that sort of series of decisions. And I think I did say yes a few times because I wanted to be that go getter, just as you were suggesting earlier, and you were just sort of kind of riffing. But it was true. That’s why I kept saying yes. So then to sort of take that storyline to the next step. Once we started going, I was like, this is awesome. I was like, oh, my gosh, this is the coolest. It’s like the most fun roller coaster ride I’ve ever been on in my life. And thank God I said yes. Right. Awesome. Yes. Yes.
[00:49:33] Fantastic. So going to that point, then, it’s a whole different message. Awesome message, including so just a nuance that I know we need to be wrapping up soon is, you know, that saying when people look at their life like, oh God, I made a bunch of bad decisions here in that when different coaches will say, you know. Nothing you did is like wrong. Like all those dumb decisions and all the great ones have come together to make who you are in this moment. And so let’s say you wanted to make that point. You could even share about the like. I was trying to impress them. Bad decision. And you can make it. You can emphasize that to make it sound like you’re going in the direction of big mistake, bubba, blah. And then when you just thought you said it was awesome. And then the person like, oh, it was a good thing. It was. You know that chef. Yeah. Makes it so much more impactful. Memorable. And then from there. Like if you were using that story in a coach, Shane, the the listener is like, oh, wow. Yeah. And then let’s say let’s look at some of those decisions you’ve made and how it’s put you poised on the edge of. Awesome.
[00:50:54] Poised on the edge of awesome. I like that. That is so fabulous. And I just I’m so glad I brought this story up. And I’m glad you said, David. They don’t always have to be big. This was one of the biggest stories of my life. Okay. So but I love I feel like you get just as much from the subtle everyday stories. Right.
[00:51:17] Thank you for saying that. Cause that is a point that I wanted to remember to make and I was going to forget. So I remember years ago listening to David White, the poet, and he has these epic stories of like mountain climbing in Bhutan and stuff like that. And I can’t match that. Like my pretty mundane can’t relate to it. Yeah. Yeah. So you do, especially if you’ve had a pretty epic life.
[00:51:40] You want to add more quote, mundane everyday sort of stories. E And one of the things that I’ve found over the years, some of the most powerful stories are the simple little nuanced ones that you could forget within an hour, which is why I always try to like just scribble down or you can do it in your phone or whatever those little magic moments. And and put him in a I’d do a story table in the resource page, I’ll show how to do that so I can recall it later and then think about how could I use this as a teaching story.
[00:52:20] Yeah, yeah. Oh, my gosh, it’s so good. And the other point I just wanted to make about that story in Iraq is just I always knew it was a great story, but I never really knew where where where to go with it and what to do with it. And you just gave me like six things. But when I really unpack it, I think I could come up with twenty five things.
[00:52:41] Absolutely. And one hundred percent. And I can I’m thinking of two friends in particular, friends and colleagues who both net neat. But neither of them thought of themselves as storytellers. And it was only through our conversation like, oh my god, that is awesome story. And I remember one in particular friend like really? Like how? And then I’d share like hot. This is why this is how you could use it. And like, I never realized that. That’s so awesome. So and actually I share that. Not to say like, isn’t that cool that I noticed that. But for people, for your listeners to recognize, you already have amazing stories. You just don’t know yet how to use them.
[00:53:24] Yes. That’s the takeaway. Perfect. So, David, what are some tips that the listeners can take away to start using storytelling more thoughtfully in their businesses?
[00:53:35] So, number one, pay attention for stories. Anything that surprises you or you think is interesting.
[00:53:42] Write them down and just write enough so you could look at it a year later like, oh, that was the time when and I do a two to column table. The right column is enough narrative. And then the left column is just searchable keywords like new perspective, courageous conversation going for it like whatever is relevant to that person. So that’s number one.
[00:54:06] And I guess maybe maybe I’m whatever I will qualify as being more mindful and present in each moment.
[00:54:16] And so a simple little example was this morning when we were on the phone, when something happened twice with our phones where I couldn’t hear you, but you could hear me.
[00:54:29] David, where did you go? And I’m like, can you hear me? Can you hear me? And you can. But I can’t hear you saying you could hear me.
[00:54:36] And so I was thinking that was kind of interesting. And I’m still thinking about how I could use that as a quick little metaphore or analogy. But like one simple one that came to mind is what a great example or simple analogy. Like we think we’re communicating to our partner or to our client. And they’re not hearing us. Yeah. You know something? So. So being aware of the potential of of little stories in everyday life. If I. Let me give you a quick example to a. Yeah. I’ll make I’ll do a short version. A friend of mine was at a conference and at the end of the day she’s worn out. And she goes to use one of those electronic keys into her room and just wants to be left alone, recuperate, et cetera. And she puts it in as she wiggles on the doorknob. And it’s not opening. And you’ve probably had times where they didn’t magnetize it. Right. Whatever. Technology’s not perfect. So she does it a few more times and she’s just feeling frustrated and hassled. It’s like I just want to go in, flop down on the bed. And it’s kind of like when life doesn’t give us what we want and we feel a kind of put upon and picked on and beleagured. And she’s like in that mode.
[00:55:50] And then she just takes a deep breath, steps back and she looks up and she realizes that she’s at the wrong door. Huh. And when she goes to the right tour, amazingly enough, the door opens. And when she told me that, I thought, haha. You know, funny. I know I’ve done that too.
[00:56:05] But later thought what a perfect metaphor for life. Yeah. They were forcing our way through a door like this is the career for me. This is the business. This is what ever. And we’re not pausing, taking a deep breath and letting life speak to us. Maybe the door’s not opening because it’s not the right door for the wrong number.
[00:56:25] Yeah, I love that. OK, so David, I like to always put my guests on the spot at the end of our talk and ask you to leave our listeners with a challenge.
[00:56:41] All right. I’ll do a sort of like a three part challenge. Number one is to challenge any liberty beliefs you have that you don’t know how to do this because you’ve been telling stories all your life. You just maybe don’t think of it that way. So that’s number one. Number two, write down the stories, cure rate them. I tell you, I’ve been doing this for 30 years now in all. Let’s say I’m doing a talk. I’m like, oh, my God, I forgot about this story. But I look at my what? I look at my story table, write it down. And I guess the third. I’ve sort of already said, but it’s so important is look first. Okay, I’ll turn this into a challenge. How about if you can find before the end of the day or if you listen to this at the end of the day, before the end of tomorrow, at least one little nuanced experience that you think that was interesting or surprising or funny. And then just note that. And then after you’ve picked one, say, how could I use this as a teaching story?
[00:57:41] I love that. That is so good. And it’s such it fun. An easy way to get content. If you’re someone who does a weekly blog post or podcast and sometimes you’re like, oh, my ideal well is dry. Just that, like just keep collecting these ideas. And it’s it’s so, so good. Oh, my gosh. I have learned so much from this episode. This has been so much fun. I’m so grateful you were so generous with your sharing today, David. I know that people listening are going to want to get to know you find you subscribed your stuff. Can you tell listeners how they can find you?
[00:58:17] I’m so thank you for having. This has been super fun. Yeah. So you can connect with me on LinkedIn. David Lee, I’ve got several different websites. One for story telling stories that change dot com. I know you do show notes and I’ll do this at the Backslash Allison Resource page. It’ll all be in the show notes, too. Yeah. And also I’ll put two books I highly recommend. One is Business Storytelling for Dummies. We’ll put that in and then actually off even though I’m not a big fan of the dummy’s title and Dummies series. I know the author and it’s a brilliant she’s brilliant on storytelling and it’s a brilliant book. And also to give a great example of using stories in writing and marketing selling.
[00:58:58] I actually a friend and colleague of mine, Coach brewdog Kahn, is a great example of using stories and sales copy in his book. Stadium status is a great example of story based writing. Nice. So those are some resources. Oh, share with your your listeners.
[00:59:17] Oh, that’s so generous. Thank you so much. Well, again, this has just been a blast. I’ve learned so much like I can’t think of an episode, an interview where I’ve learned so much and I’m so excited to implement all of this. I made the the I set the intention early in the year that I was going to not only get better at writing sales, copy that. I was going to find a way to love it. And I realized that I loved sales copy through storytelling. And you’ve just given me like a million ways to love writing sales copy more needs. So thank you so much.
[00:59:48] Really, David, I’m so grateful. And I’d love to have you back again. I’d love that. Thank you very much. That was just such an inspiring conversation. Thank you so much for tuning in. And if you’re digging on this content like I hope you are, I would be super grateful if you hit the subscribe button where ever you’re listening. And I have a question now for you. Are you ready to grow your business with both magic and predictability? Then head to my Web site right now. Allyson Scammell dot com to download my three free so guided meditations to get a clear vision of growth for six months time and where to place your focus today to take you there. Again, that’s Allyson Scammell dot com. And you can find a link in the show notes. And as always, let’s grow there together.