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Articles filed in: Story Skills

The Metrics Of Belonging


The things we measure most are the most tangible—sales, clicks, votes, bums on seats. They can be seen and touched, counted and compared.

The metrics of belonging are felt and harder to quantify. But it is those intangibles—often only evidenced or experienced over time, that are the backbone of strong relationships, communities and brands.

We have become impatient to see results now. We don’t have time to cultivate belonging.

So, we’re left to question. If it can’t be seen, touched or measured, did it matter? And if the answer is ‘yes’, how do we account for it?

That’s a question every one of us must answer.

Image by Garry Knight

Listening To Lead


The promise of the digital age was the ability to more cheaply and rapidly raise awareness of our value, our message, or our cause. Digital media levelled the playing field and gave all of us the chance to spread our ideas.

In some cases, the desire to quickly spread ideas has led to the misbelief that to control the message, we must manipulate the story. But when we prioritise being heard, we stop listening to the people we serve. We quickly lose ground when we put self-interest before service.

The opportunity to harness the tools available to all of us to hear, not only to be heard is open to all of us. We get to choose how we take advantage of it.

Image by Dries Augustyns

Consistent, Persistent And Patient


The slim woman dressed in activewear, in line at the cafe next to the gym, orders a black coffee. As she’s handing over her card when the barista asks her the question he’s asked every single customer who ordered a takeaway coffee that morning.

‘Would you like a glazed doughnut for just $2 to go with your drink?’

‘No! Thanks,’ the woman laughs and rolls her eyes.

The barista shrugs before moving onto the next customer.

Of course, if the barista offers a doughnut to everyone, some customers will buy one. But what does that sale cost the business in eroded trust over time?

We’ve come to believe that the secret to being a successful communicator is to be consistent and persistent.

But it isn’t just the person who shows up to tell their story most often who wins. It’s the person who has the patience and empathy to understand the story they tell must serve the people they want to matter to.

Image by Nathan Shurr

Perfect Timing


The man raising money for charity stands near the Flinders Street station steps during the lunchtime rush. He waves his clipboard and attempts to catch someone’s eye. He starts his pitch several times, and when busy commuters silence him by raising a hand, he changes the script.

‘Are you a nature lover? Are you worried about climate change? Can I talk to you for just sixty seconds? Hi there!’

His words aren’t working for him. But it isn’t just what he’s saying or how he’s saying it that’s preventing him from engaging people in a sales conversation. His problem is imperfect timing.

A crowded street might seem like the ideal place to meet the maximum number of potential donors, but just because people are there doesn’t mean they are open to being interrupted or persuaded.

An ideal audience isn’t one that’s available—it’s one that’s receptive.

When we say something is just as important as how we say it.

Image by Alex Proimos

The Stories We Live And Leave


We care about finding our voice, our advantage, our unique value proposition.

We work hard to tell that story—never more so than in our digital world.

How much consideration do we give to the stories we live and leave?

In the end, all that will be left of us is the stories other people share about us.

How can we make those stories worth telling?

Image by NeonBrand

Showing Value


Did you know that on average, a buyer spends less than half an hour in a property before deciding to buy it?

How the property is styled influences the price people pay, as much, if not more than valuations and comparable sales data. A good property stylist leaves room for prospective buyers to imagine themselves in the space—making them feel like it could become their place.

When we’re in the business of serving or selling, we are regularly required to demonstrate the value we deliver.

We need to help customers experience what buying from or working with us will feel like, often before a transaction has taken place.

We often do this with reason and logic alone, by competing on price, speed or some other hard metric. But it turns out that people don’t just want to know how much something costs. They want a sense of how their lives will be changed by our product or service.

We can all benefit from learning to show, not just explain the value we create. Marketing and sales appeal to the imagination, they are about showing and telling.

Image by Roberto Nickson

The Lost Art Of Storytelling


Your great-grandmother couldn’t send a text or an email, but she had dozens of life skills we don’t often use today.

She knew how to build a fire. She could knit and sew her clothes. She likely grew and preserved food. And she would have been a better storyteller than you and I put together.

Our ancestors needed to tell stories to gain the trust and cooperation of others. But not only that, they told stories to make sense of their world and to share that understanding.

We still need stories and story skills in the present, more than we realise.

I was at an event last weekend where two Australian authors were in conversation. They shared a lot of wisdom, but the things I remember today are the stories.

The story about being stuck on a lonely train platform after dark and the one about witnessing the giant branch of a tree crash to the ground, almost killing someone.

What stories will you tell today and why will they matter to the people who hear them?

Image by Les Anderson

Only Human


Today you and I will pay $4 for a coffee when we could have paid a dollar.

We will take vitamins it’s claimed will improve our health, even though we have no definitive proof that they do.

We will eat too much and exercise too little.

We will distract ourselves with non-urgent tasks and fail to do the one thing we promised ourselves we’d get done.

All because we are only human—beings, who as neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor says, are feeling creatures that think, not the thinking creatures who feel, we like to believe we are.

Despite knowing this, we will still try to convince our kids, our colleagues or our customers to change their minds with facts and rational arguments alone.

We need to constantly remind ourselves that we are neither all head or all heart and act accordingly.

Image by Shane Rounce

Believed In


The one thing all successful ideas have in common is that they spread. But why?

The essential ingredient for making ideas spread is trust.

We must trust something before we can believe in it.
When we believe in something, we stick with it and share it.

So the first question we must ask ourselves isn’t how to get our idea to spread—it’s how can we do or say something worth believing in.

*If you’d like to get your message believed, not just noticed, consider joining us for
The Story Skills Workshop today at the discounted rate for my blog subscribers. I’m looking forward to helping you to tell better stories.
Here is your link to join.

Image by Mike

The Story Advantage


How can we get more attention for our idea?
How can we increase brand awareness?
How can we make people notice our work?

These are the questions I am often asked by the people and companies in search of a message that will give them a competitive advantage.

I don’t need to tell you that getting more eyeballs on your work won’t get any easier. Every day new businesses are launched and more videos, podcasts, articles and books are published. There will never be less competition for people’s attention than there is today.

But I’d argue that getting attention and building awareness are misguided goals. Fulfilling careers and thriving businesses are built on more than being noticed. And that’s good news for all of us.

We don’t need to go in search of some elusive message that might gain fleeting awareness. We already have an inherent competitive advantage—our unique, true stories about our life and our work. Those stories, well told, enable us to share messages that build strong ties with the people we hope to serve.

Our goal must always be to do what it takes, not just to be seen—but to matter. We don’t have to manufacture a message to get more attention, we have to create more affinity by getting better at saying what’s true.

If you want to get better at telling your stories, please consider joining us for the upcoming Story Skills Workshop.

Image by Clem Onojeghuo