DESIGNING YOUR THIRD CHAPTER

August 17, 2016

LIMITED SPACE !  REGISTER BY SEPT.16, 2016.

Whistler, BC – October 27-29, 2016
Open to couples and individuals
Led by: Linda Oglov with presenters Janine Guenther,Lorraine McGregor and Robb Lucy .

Banff, Alberta – November 3-5, 2016
Women only
Led by: Linda Oglov, Lorraine Moore and Loretta Smith, with presenters Janine Guenther and others to be announced.

 Who Are These Workshops For?

Anyone approaching or in their Third Chapter (aged 50-75), looking to be strategic and self-reflective about what they want this important chapter of their lives to be.

  • Men or women who are still occupied with successful careers and/or raising a family who may be looking to change their career path for the Third Chapter
  • Anyone seeking inspiration, guidance, clarity, ideas on charting their path forward.

Timing/Fees:

  • October 27-29 (Thurs 5 pm to Saturday noon) – Whistler, BC
  • November 3-5 (Thurs 5 pm to Saturday noon) – Banff, AB
  • Fees: $945 for individuals; $1600 per couple, plus GST

About the facilitators and presenters:

Linda Oglov:    CEO and Executive Coach; former Olympic and Major Events Marketing Professional www.oglov.com

Lorraine Moore:  Author, Management Consultant, Executive Coach www.acceleratesuccess.ca

Loretta Smith: Entrepreneur, Business Strategist, Leadership Coach  www.genesis-em.com
Janine Guenther: Portfolio Manager /Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy  https://www.cibcwg.com/web/janine-guenther/who-i-am
Robb Lucy:  Author, Legacies Aren’t (Just) for Dead People!;  www.yourlegacysmile.com
Lorraine McGregor: Business Strategist, Performance Coach Spirit West Management  www.spiritwest.com
 

For more information

Visit: www.oglov.com/third-chapter.php

E-Mail:
linda@oglov.com

Phone:  604-288-7031

Click here to read more!
Hope to see you either in Whistler or Banff this Fall!

Linda Oglov

Summertime muses about the value of solitude – How will you rock your solitude this summer?

 July 25, 2016

Maybe it was the image of sitting, still in my nightgown at 10 am, on a private green patio, fresh pot of tea at hand, book on my lap, staring off into a lush green valley.

Envy to the point of obsession has gripped me ever since a friend told me about the weeks she spent alone in a cottage in Italy.

No husband, family or friends (much loved as they are), completely alone.  Sigh!  Imagine the delights!  Waking up when you want, doing exactly what you want to do – for the entire day!  Some place where not everybody – perhaps nobody! – knows you.  I envision long walks, quiet glasses of wine under a blossoming wisteria, dinner that might consist of nothing more than a ripe tomato with basil, no one to give you a hard time about going to bed at 8 pm – or 2 am!

Most importantly:  time to revel in SOLITUDE!

The values of solitude for our mental, physical and spiritual health are much touted.  Growing up as the oldest of 6 children, I had little chance to find solitude.  But I do remember how much I loved those rare solitary rides on my horse when I got to think about all the things that got no chance of air time otherwise.  Most of the really big decisions got made then.  Deciding on what I could authentically speak about in the regional elementary school public speaking contest.  Deciding that yes, I am going to go to journalism school.  Yes, I could figure out a way to spend 6 months in Europe.

In the intervening years, the need for solitude has come up often, been realized much less often.  Now, in the maturity of my years, I find myself yearning for periods of solitude again.  Don’t get me wrong, the sheer pleasure of the company of my husband, family and friends is something I could not live without.  But…

It is surprising how difficult it is to carve out pure solitude.  My frequent bike rides provide a couple of hours of it.  Summer hammock sojourns serve it up in delicious doses.  Weeding the garden can be another time of solitude.  But I find myself craving vast stretches of alone time, not just an afternoon.

Why?  Here are the benefits that I see – let me know if you see any that hit a chord with you, or others:

•    Honesty – There can be no better time to be brutally honest with myself than when I am alone.  A time to challenge the scattering of thoughts and statements that pop out of my mouth and test-drive them round my brain.

•    No thinking – I think too much.  Not a rare trait but one that I readily acknowledge has as many down sides as up.  I have been told that it is impossible to completely turn off  “monkey brain” but I need to give it a shot.

•    Listen to my body – Another one that is easier said than done.  I think I listen to my body, and then my left hip screams “it’s a lie!”.  What does my body truly need at this stage in life?  Beyond the obvious of more exercise and less gelato, what does it need?

•    Consider the spiritual – I am not a disciple of an organized religion or of any particular brand of spiritualism.  While I do consider myself a spiritual person, I would be hard pressed to articulate what that means. I would like to dig around in spirituality for a bit.

Here are the things I am going TO DO TO ACHIEVE SOLITUDE this summer:

1.    Set aside one day a month for pure aloneness, solitude.  Book it off in my calendar, manage expectations of others.  Start this month.
2.    Find a meditation course – one that is not too woo-woo, works for my lifestyle and schedule.  And then give it a fair shot, not a one time only.  Start by September.
3.    More hammock time, less office time.  Enough said.
4.    Start planning what the equivalent of a few weeks alone in a cottage in Italy could look like for me.  Make it happen in the next year!

Happy summer everyone!  Rock your solitude!

Linda Oglov

 

Executive Storytelling Workshop comes to Ottawa and Surrey!

Please sign up and tell your friends and colleagues!

Following sold-out workshops in Calgary and Vancouver last Spring, I am pleased to say that Bill Baker and I will be offering our Executive Storytelling workshop in Ottawa ON on Tuesday October 21 and Surrey BC on Thursday October 23!

Please sign up if you are interested and tell your friends and colleagues! More info and to register: www.execstorytelling.com

Executive Storytelling is designed to help managers and executives understand how to leverage the timeless power of storytelling to improve the effectiveness of their communications and, as a result, their ability to engage, influence and lead others. This workshop is ideal for anyone whose job is contingent on being a good communicator and leader. It will not only help participants develop their professional stories (e.g. of their company, their career, their vision), it will also enable them to use those stories to sell products or services, inspire and direct their teams, recruit top talent and advance their careers.

The Executive Storytelling workshop was created through my collaboration with Strategic Storyteller, Bill Baker (www.billbakerandco.com) .   Together we bring decades of communication and leadership experience to Executive Storytelling and will be the team leading you through the workshop. This valuable training is inspired by and consistent with the workshops we conduct for companies such as GE, Coca-Cola and State Farm Insurance.

Here are some things the folks who have taken our workshop have had to say:

“This workshop is packed with relevant information and tools that can be used immediately.

For organizations or individuals looking for great return on their training dollars, this workshop is the best value for investment I’ve seen in a long time.”

Liz McNally, Manager Organizational Effectiveness, London Drugs Limited

 

“It was amazing to discover that storytelling, this thing that we do all the time with friends and family, can be used in such a powerful way to lead and inspire people at work. What a great workshop!”

Paul Melia, CEO, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport

 

“What an incredibly stimulating day of learning! I have a much better understanding now on how to use storytelling to engage, persuade and inspire people. Thanks Bill and Linda.”

Jill Schnarr, VP Community Investments, TELUS

 

“I can’t remember the last time I learned so much in such a short period of time. Your workshop has completely changed the way my team and I are connecting with and engaging potential customers. Thanks for such a enlightening and inspiring day you two.”

Jean-Guy Faubert, CEO, Tagga

 

“What a fantastic day yesterday. I can’t thank you enough for giving me such inspiration and a new focus. Hope you realize that your workshops inspire more than just results for story telling, they help people find new ways to define life meaning too.”

Liz Gurszky, Marketing Director, BC Dairy Association

Thanks everyone and here’s to a great and productive fall season!

Do you contemplate wealth, wisdom and well-being?

Tips on 3 things you might be contemplating this August!

What are you going to be contemplating this August as you lie in a hammock, sit on a dock, have a cool one on a patio?

A friend of mine suggests that on any given Sunday morning most people are contemplating their wealth, wisdom and well-being. Since an August long weekend or vacation can feel like an extended Sunday morning, in the summer we get even more time for such contemplation. Major life decisions, career decisions, even relationship decisions get made in the lazy, hazy days of summer when we have time to stop and think.

How do you approach these topics of wealth, wisdom and well-being? What is the single tough question that you might ask yourself to frame each of them?

I make no claim to having made remarkable strides in any of these categories, but here are my lazy observations and tips on each:

1 – Wealth – I subscribe to the popular mantra that you should follow your passion and the money will follow. Most of the truly successful people I see around me, are more interested in what they are doing and why, than in accumulating wealth.

Try this tough question: “if money was no object, would I still be doing what I am now?”

I have found this question one of the best to get my coaching clients to a point where they can honestly identify whether they want to make a change. The follow on question can be even tougher: “what am I passionate about and therefore what do I want to do?”

Most of us don’t have the luxury of casting our financial responsibilities aside and leaping over the fence to follow our passion – or do we? Is there a way to reframe your financial and other realities? And what does “wealth” mean to you?

2- Wisdom – you are wiser than you think. You might concede that you are Smart, Quick or even Intelligent, but would you tick the box for Wise? Wisdom shows up in many different forms and, in my experience, often makes an appearance when you most need it.

It doesn’t mean that you have to be the wise one all of the time. Take a look around: who is in your world right now that might have some wisdom on what you are contemplating?

My challenge to you is to reach out and ask that person for advice, or even better to share their experience on what you are contemplating. Ask them to tell you their story about it. And what wisdom can you offer in exchange? Shared wisdom is a gift.

  1. Well-being – a feeling of well-being is a beautiful thing. For me this means a good balance of all my important relationships: with my husband, my family and friends, my work, my garden, my health, my mental stimulation, things I am looking forward to and most of all with myself.

The counter balance can show up in any number of negative factors. The trick for me is to ask: what is serving me right now in my life and what is not? The emphasis here is on the right now. What served me well 10 years ago or even last month, may not be doing so now. And new things may have shown up that I hadn’t noticed.

If I can throw the things that are not serving me overboard and focus on the things left on the deck, I can get my feeling of well-being back.

Happy August contemplation! First and foremost, make sure you are recharging your batteries for a productive year ahead full of wealth, wisdom and well-being!

Is Taking Time off Really a Good Use of Time?

5 Tips to Ensuring Time Off is a G.U.T.

Once again, it is that time of year when people start thinking about taking their foot off the gas for a bit and enjoying the rapidly passing scenery of summer. Not so easy for some of us! How do you do with it?

I fully subscribe to the belief that down time is not lost time and that there are days when idly contemplating the burgeoning apples above my head in the hammock is exactly what I should be doing. But I would by lying if I said that this has always been easy.

I have a friend in the UK who likes to talk about G.U.T. – Good Use of Time. That is what I subscribe to more heavily. It does not have to be “productive” time, but do I have the need to feel like the time was well spent. And it takes guts to get to G.U.T.

When I was young, my father would chastise us if we walked from one end of the barn to the other without picking up a bucket or a halter or something that needed to get from one place to another. To him, that was a waste of time. Later in life, there was a time when leaving the office anytime before 6 pm felt like I was skipping out in the middle of the day.

Most of us are pretty well programmed to think that if you want to be successful in whatever your pursuit, you need to keep pedal to the medal all of the time. We may give lip service to the concepts of recharging the batteries, contemplating our navels, being couch potatoes, etc. But can you really do it and do you truly think it is a good use of time?

Here are my 5 tips to taking time off and still ensuring Good Use of Time:

Clear the decks first – if the emails are down to a dull roar and you can see most of the surface of your desk, consider your decks cleared! A common excuse for not taking time off is that you have 2500 emails in your Inbox and that your desk could be an archeological dig site! Use whatever document management system works for you and just get it done. I like the “touch it and move it” approach: reply/forward/file and delete as soon as you get the moment to do it, preferably as soon as it pops up. Then forget it.

Manage expectations – if you have a regular job, most likely you submit a request for leave and take it. But if you are a contractor, run a business, freelance, etc it may be harder for you to tell people you are not going to be accessible for 2 weeks or you take time but continue to reply to emails all afternoon. Just tell them you will not be available! Automated Out of Office notices are good but manage expectations in advance. Start giving your clients, customers and staff warning as far in advance as possible and by the time you do it, they will simply be wishing you a good break.

Turn your devices off – yes it is a sad truth that we are all addicted to checking our text and email messages every 3 seconds. No way around it: if you want true down time, you need to turn them off. When I am in down time mode, I set a time each day when I check messages (once in the morning, once at night) and steadfastly leave the devices off the rest of the time.

Be honest about your definition of down time – for some people, going home to enjoy a summer evening at 6 pm counts as time off or down time, even though they don’t actually take days off. If you are European, you may be accustomed to taking 5 weeks a year off. Other people’s definitions really don’t matter; what counts is what you honestly need to do to recharge those batteries and reap the physical, mental and emotional benefits.

Start thinking of down time as G.U.T. – regardless of your definition of down time, start thinking of it as Good Use of Time! Even if you experiment with not thinking of it as something you are not entitled to or can’t really do, you will be making headway.

On Doing Things You Love…

Five Tips to doing things so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.

I am saddened this week by the death of the great American poet Maya Angelou and mindful of one of her many quotes that I love:

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

We delight in stories about people who – often casting caution to the wind – decide to pursue what they love and end up doing it so well that people can’t take their eyes off of them.   As an example, I had the recent good fortune to meet Corin and Brian Mullins who founded Holy Crap cereal on BC’s Sunshine Coast, went on to take the CBC programme Dragon’s Den by storm and now people literally can’t take their eyes off of them, and certainly can’t stop eating their cereal. (check out www.holycrap.ca)

I am surrounded on Pender Island by people whose art is their passion and who have foregone big salaries, the luxuries of city living and even laying the foundation for a secure old age in the name of their art. I think of one friend whose commitment to producing a children’s book is so strong that we are all riveted in watching her and eager to support her in any way we can.

I think the most important part of Maya Angelou’s quote is actually that you can only become truly accomplished at something you love. That is a thought to give you pause because it implies that you will not be accomplished when you are doing something that you do not love.

And over time, what you love doing can change. When I was aged about 35-55, I can honestly say I loved working hard, doing deals, catching planes, grabbing phone calls in airports etc. I also loved my husband, my friends and my garden during that time, but somewhere around age 55-60 I started a shift where these elements of my life became even more important and I started to figure out how I could get more of them.

Now, in my mid-60s, I would say that what I love most is the variety and balance of work and personal life. I have long loved a seamless existence that sees me walking around my garden with a cup of tea at 6 am and then floating upstairs to my home office and starting a day of working with clients from Vancouver to Melbourne to London.

Landing on what you love should be the easy part (not always, I get it) but once you have that part worked out, what are the steps to putting what you love doing into practice?

Here are five things that have worked for me:

 

Just start! – hardest thing can be getting going on what you love doing. I can negative talk my way out of doing something as well as the next person. My solution has often been to just start – take necessary precautions like ensuring an income flow, etc but figure out a way you can get started. Maybe it’s on a part-time basis or maybe you just start laying the track for what you want to do – but start!

 

 

Figure out a story you can tell yourself –before you can tell others the story of what you are doing, you need to be able to be able to convince yourself. I have had many hare-brained ideas over the years – fortunately most of them died a natural death when the person I saw in the mirror wouldn’t believe me! When I was honest about whether I actually loved the idea, it worked.

 

Figure out a story you can tell others – once you have yourself convinced, spend some time on getting your personal vision into a story that lands with others. There are many great vehicles for your story now – from LinkedIn to personal blogs – but being able to “speak” your story is where you should start.

 

Enlist people who will support you – if you are lucky enough to have a “Sugar Daddy” or equivalent, great! But chances are the kind of support you will most need and find is of a different kind. Surround yourself with people who will remind you of why you started on this journey when the going gets tough, pick you up and give you a glass of wine when needed, celebrate your successes with you and simply can be counted on to be there when you need them.

 

Enlist people who will hold you accountable – these people may be different than the ones who support you. This the friend or colleague who will not let you away with anything: you said you would have a business plan done by end of June, where is it!? Pick these people carefully since they may make the difference to your success.

 

Doing something you love has got to be the greatest gift you can give yourself. Achieving a feeling of accomplishment – whatever that may look like for you – is also a fundamental to human happiness.

What is it that you love to do and how can you do it so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you?

On Doing Things You Love… Five Tips to doing things so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.

I am saddened this week by the death of the great American poet Maya Angelou and mindful of one of her many quotes that I love:

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

We delight in stories about people who – often casting caution to the wind – decide to pursue what they love and end up doing it so well that people can’t take their eyes off of them.   As an example, I had the recent good fortune to meet Corin and Brian Mullins who founded Holy Crap cereal on BC’s Sunshine Coast, went on to take the CBC programme Dragon’s Den by storm and now people literally can’t take their eyes off of them, and certainly can’t stop eating their cereal. (check out www.holycrap.ca)

I am surrounded on Pender Island by people whose art is their passion and who have foregone big salaries, the luxuries of city living and even laying the foundation for a secure old age in the name of their art. I think of one friend whose commitment to producing a children’s book is so strong that we are all riveted in watching her and eager to support her in any way we can.

I think the most important part of Maya Angelou’s quote is actually that you can only become truly accomplished at something you love. That is a thought to give you pause because it implies that you will not be accomplished when you are doing something that you do not love.

And over time, what you love doing can change. When I was aged about 35-55, I can honestly say I loved working hard, doing deals, catching planes, grabbing phone calls in airports etc. I also loved my husband, my friends and my garden during that time, but somewhere around age 55-60 I started a shift where these elements of my life became even more important and I started to figure out how I could get more of them.

Now, in my mid-60s, I would say that what I love most is the variety and balance of work and personal life. I have long loved a seamless existence that sees me walking around my garden with a cup of tea at 6 am and then floating upstairs to my home office and starting a day of working with clients from Vancouver to Melbourne to London.

Landing on what you love should be the easy part (not always, I get it) but once you have that part worked out, what are the steps to putting what you love doing into practice?

Here are five things that have worked for me:

Just start! – hardest thing can be getting going on what you love doing. I can negative talk my way out of doing something as well as the next person. My solution has often been to just start – take necessary precautions like ensuring an income flow, etc but figure out a way you can get started. Maybe it’s on a part-time basis or maybe you just start laying the track for what you want to do – but start!

 

Figure out a story you can tell yourself –before you can tell others the story of what you are doing, you need to be able to be able to convince yourself. I have had many hare-brained ideas over the years – fortunately most of them died a natural death when the person I saw in the mirror wouldn’t believe me! When I was honest about whether I actually loved the idea, it worked.

 

Figure out a story you can tell others – once you have yourself convinced, spend some time on getting your personal vision into a story that lands with others. There are many great vehicles for your story now – from LinkedIn to personal blogs – but being able to “speak” your story is where you should start.

 

Enlist people who will support you – if you are lucky enough to have a “Sugar Daddy” or equivalent, great! But chances are the kind of support you will most need and find is of a different kind. Surround yourself with people who will remind you of why you started on this journey when the going gets tough, pick you up and give you a glass of wine when needed, celebrate your successes with you and simply can be counted on to be there when you need them.

 

Enlist people who will hold you accountable – these people may be different than the ones who support you. This the friend or colleague who will not let you away with anything: you said you would have a business plan done by end of June, where is it!? Pick these people carefully since they may make the difference to your success.

Doing something you love has got to be the greatest gift you can give yourself. Achieving a feeling of accomplishment – whatever that may look like for you – is also a fundamental to human happiness.

What is it that you love to do and how can you do it so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you?

Tell the truth – tell a good story Five tips to help you find your authentic voice.

Whenever I hear anyone speak about finding your “authentic” voice, it makes me think that the implication is that I am “inauthentic” – i.e. not being truthful. Can this be true? Are we walking around using an inauthentic voice, not telling the truth?

On the flip side, Mark Twain’s advice was to “never let the truth get in the way of a good story”. So which is it: tell a good story, whether it is fully truthful or not; OR be authentic, be honest?

 

I believe that most of us tell the truth most of the time, including in our strategic stories in business. With the exception of people like the Wolf of Wall Street and a few others that come to mind, my experience working with businesses and individuals for more than 30 years is that most people are honest and speak the truth.

Even if there might have been a time when it was easier to stretch the truth – or outright lie – today’s technology facilitates getting to the truth in nanoseconds. Tools like Google and LinkedIn mean that you can find out the real story on a person or product or service instantly. Thankfully, one of the side effects of this is that we are seeing the death of the old-fashioned “spin” executed by “spin doctors”. If you are putting a spin on a story, people will sniff it out very quickly and you will indeed be seen as inauthentic.

It is also possible to sound inauthentic even when you are telling the full truth. Politicians are often the most obvious examples of this. They may be telling the full truth and nothing but the truth, but we still don’t believe them.

What I have observed in the work that strategic storyteller Bill Baker and I do with clients in our Executive Storytelling workshop is that great storytellers are human, vulnerable, truthful and trustworthy. And if you let those natural traits come to the fore, you have a much better chance of being believed and therefore able to influence how you want your listeners to think, talk and act.

Here are 5 other tips to help you find your authentic voice:

Don’t use “corporate speak” – one of the quickest means towards not only losing your audience but having them not believe you, is to cloak your story in a barrage of words that mean nothing – except possibly to the person who strung them together! I once had a colleague who is one of the most honest, authentic people I have known but she had a habit of reeling off an endless stream of corporate speak that not only caused her audience to glaze over, but they stopped believing her.

Don’t hide behind PowerPoint – PowerPoint, and its competitors, are a modern day blessing and a curse. Many of us have experienced a form of death by PowerPoint, but an inappropriate use of the tool can also put a vast chasm between you and your audience. You have no chance of appearing human, vulnerable, truthful and trustworthy if you are hiding behind 99 slides!

If you screwed up, say you screwed up – if your story involves a mistake you made, own up! People relate to stories about human frailty and vulnerability. Sent a product out into the market when it hadn’t been fully tested and there was a problem? Take responsibility and people are much more likely to believe what you say and that you will now fix the problem.

Listen, engage and interact – don’t do all the talking. One-sided presentations leave lots of room for inauthenticity to creep in. People truly only trust things they have had a hand in creating. If you leave no opportunity for your audience to engage and interact, your credibility will slip rapidly.

Relax, smile – a genuine smile can be one of your greatest assets in ensuring people hear your authentic voice. Can’t smile and talk? Yes you can! Practice in front of a mirror, with your friends and family and then in your place of business. And please relax – it is hard to trust someone who looks uncomfortable and uptight.

Having found your authentic voice, is it still ok to stretch the truth sometimes? No is the short answer. I grew up in the Ottawa Valley where the Irish tradition has spawned great storytellers but someone who tells tall tales will elicit the comment that “he tells a lie when the truth would do”.

The difference between Mark Twain’s stories and the strategic stories we tell in business is that we do need people to trust us because only then will they think, talk and act in the way we hope they will.

Happy Spring!

“Man, that person can tell a story…” Five traits to being a great storyteller

I grew up in the Irish tradition of storytelling in the Ottawa Valley.  My father the horse dealer could tell a great story.  People would drive into our farmyard not thinking they were coming to buy a horse, and drive out with one loaded in their truck – all because of the great story my Dad could tell them about how that particular horse would change their lives for the better!

 

For me, it was early exposure to not only a great storyteller, but a great strategic storyteller.  Knowing “what story to tell when” in business is key.  But it is also important to develop skills as a storyteller, to hone your ability to tell a story to achieve the impact that you are seeking – whether to persuade, influence or lead others.

 

You may think that you are not a wonderful orator, that you are not a Martin Luther King or a Mahatma Ghandi, or even Canada’s own Olympic storyteller John Furlong. Great strategic storytellers have certain traits in common – traits that may not be ones you think you were born with, but they are ones that you can nurture and grow.  Here are the top five most powerful traits.  Great storytellers…

  1. Listen, engage and interact with their audience– your audience does not want to be preached to.  A storyteller who starts out listening, engaging and interacting with the audience has a much better chance of keeping folks with them and getting the desired outcome.  Is there a question you can ask near the beginning?  If the group is small enough, can you go around the room and ask for people’s experience on the topic?  Can you pause at mid point and see how your story is landing?  And of course is there a close that not only wraps up the story with a nice neat bow, but also invites or even challenges the audience to respond.

 

  1. Empower others – I used to tell stories to groups of fundraisers about raising sponsorship revenue for the Olympics, until I realized that these stories did not in any way empower those groups.  Most fundraisers do not have the benefit of something like the Olympic brand and its ability to generate millions of dollars – rather they are working on realistic scales of multiples of a thousand and their own excellent stories of the work their organizations do.  By changing the stories I told to ones that were more relevant to their experiences, I was actually able to empower those audiences to take action and achieve their own successes.

 

  1. Are generous in spirit – US President Harry S Truman (and a few others) are credited with saying: “There is no limit to what you can accomplish as long as you don’t care who gets the credit.”  Generosity of spirit can carry you a long way to being perceived as a great storyteller: that illusive mix of being confident, yet humble; proud of achievements and yet willing to easily credit others for them.  Just don’t take it too far, or your audience will be conjuring up that famous Shakespearean quote: “the lady doth protest too much, methinks”!

 

  1. Are expressive, animated, highly descriptive– if you happen to have a monotone way of speaking, work at bringing in some varying tones, adding some colour and life to how you speak.  One of the best ways to test this is to record yourself and play it back (yikes!), or even practice in front of a mirror.  Often we are horrified at how little we smile, how rapidly we speak and how little personality we bring into telling a story.  This is a time to relax, let your expressive self shine through and don’t hesitate to add more description.

 

  1. Don’t hide behind power point!– Power Point, and the many other similar programs, are indeed wonderful tools.  But too many of us hide behind those treasured slides that we slaved to create – often with WAY TOO MUCH information on them, unreadable and, frankly, quite boring.  A good discipline: see how you can tell your story WITHOUT power point and then decide if you really need one or how the tool can best serve you.

When it comes to storytelling – particularly strategic storytelling – practice does indeed make perfect!  I challenge you to think about what stories you have in your library, how you can dust them off and dress them up to being a story that works in your business.  But most of all, turn on that recording device and capture your story and then play it back to a critical audience of you, plus maybe a trusted loved one.

 

Not a great storyteller yet?  Then check out our Executive Storytelling workshop in Vancouver on April 30 – www.execstorytelling.com .  We had a fabulous sold-out workshop in Calgary on March 10 – sign up for Vancouver soon!

 
Happy Spring!

How to Get People to Believe Your Story – 5 Tips to Being Credible

Do people believe you when you tell your story?

No matter how many great takeaways folks have from our Executive Storytelling workshop, in the end it comes down to not only how well you tell your story, but also whether people actually believe it.  (Shameless promotion: next workshop April 30, Vancouver!).

Being credible is what it is all about.  We know that on the continuum of personal relationships, others will only listen to you and ultimately respect you, when they first of all trust you.  Telling your story in a believable, honest manner is critical to connecting you, your services, your company or your products to your audience.

Of course the best way to be believable, is to believe!  If you don’t believe in your story, no one else will.  Failure has most consistently shown up in my life when I was trying to tell a story that I did not actually believe.  Years ago, I tried to convince myself that I wanted to be a respiratory technologist.  My feeble attempt was a stunning failure and no wonder: how does not having science credits, not liking hospital or clinical environments and having no love for the field, load up into a credible story?  I couldn’t convince myself, much less anyone else.

When I have believed my story myself it has resonated with a true passion and landed with my audience.  I think of talking to potential clients about the career transition work I love, for example.  Or convincing big corporations to contribute money to Vancouver’s quest to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games when the bid was a mere glimmer in the eyes of a few who believed in what it could do for our city.

If we start from the basis that you already believe in your story, here are a few tips to ensure your audience does too:

  1.  Make eye contact and I was on the same team!  and the following additional tips should help.
  2. Smile – another simple truth but again, how many times have you watched someone tell you a story and they never cracked a smile and might just as well have been anticipating a root canal?  My darling sister was going for a first job interview eons ago.  I knew she would ace it in terms of her knowledge and eligibility for the position so my biggest piece of advice: relax and smile.  And by the way, it is pretty much impossible not to make eye contact if you are smiling – unless you want to look like you are absent in more ways than one!
  3. Introduce a human foible – people respond well to stories that reveal a human weakness, especially if it is a “ran into a problem, fixed it and moved on” kind of story.  When I told you the story above about failing at becoming a respiratory technologist, did you identify more strongly with me than if I had just told you about success in career transition work and raising money for the Olympics?  We all have our weaknesses and they can be presented in an honest way that makes our story more believable because people can relate to human foibles. 
  4. Make selfdeprecation an art – deprecation, if done well, can shine a strong steady light on exactly those same traits.  This is not an easy art to perfect.  Get it wrong and you can come across as just being your own worst critic or that you are so obviously trying to achieve the opposite of what you are saying. deprecation is all about the successful close!
  5. Humor – who doesn’t love people who make us laugh?  Going back to that continuum of personal relationships I mentioned earlier, before people trust you they first of all have to like you.  And making them laugh is a great launching pad.  As I began a career in sales, a senior advertising executive told me:  “Doll, just get them to like you”.  Sexist moniker aside, that comment not only made me laugh but it was great advice and I believed it.  Again, humor can fail miserably for you too.  There are times when it is just not good to tell a joke or make a funny (to you) remark.  But for the most part, my experience has been that if I can start off a meeting or encounter with something even mildly funny, it sets the tone for a platform of trust and belief.

 What works for you?  How have you been successful at ensuring people believe your story?

Love to hear from you and if you would like to take your interest in getting better at telling your story to the next level, please check  out our Vancouver workshop on www.execstorytelling.com .

Happy storytelling!

Linda