If you approach your collaboration strategy with a “one-size-fits-all” mentality, your rollout is far more likely to fail. Within an organization, there exist all different types of users that each prefer to work in their own unique ways – some prefer to work in groups, others in silos, some on iPads, others on pen and paper.
Questions are the expressive, probing language for growing others; listening is the receptive, facilitating language for growing others. These two complementary approaches form a continuous growth conversation loop.
Leaders who are helping others to grow and innovate are always trying to craft the best questions to make a difference. Here's how to ask the questions that will propel your team and your organization forward.
Listening -- I mean listening really well -- is sometimes hard to do. Here's a great article by Kevin Cashman, author of The Pause Principle, reminding us that the more deeply and authentically we can listen to another, the deeper our questions go, and the deeper our understanding becomes.
Listening deeply is the first storytelling skill to build -- so you know which story to share or ask for. And then so you can dig more deeply into the story to understand what it really means.
For leaders, this is essential. For anyone wanting to master business storytelling, it is critical. Many marketing and branding folks have still not caught on to listening as being a vital component when using stories.
Sooooo -- here's a reminder that also contains some great insights, a list of what not to do, and a nice section on the power of authentic questions.
Now I'll go on a hunt and see if I can find an article for you just on the Art of the Question. For as they say in Appreciative Inquiry, the question is the intervention -- so knowing how to craft and ask the question is key.
From Karen: Below is a review written by my fellow curator Jan Gordon for her Curation, Social Business, and Beyond Scoop.it. Both the article and Jan's review are great!
I re-scooped this piece from Jan because a foundation storytelling skill is listening -- and here is how listening and working with the unconscious and archetypes pays out (read below). Now if we could only get the dynamics of story sharing into the equation we'll be even better off!
This piece was written by Bolivar J. Bueno for MarketingProfs. I selected it because I thought the suggestions were excellent.
Whatever you're doing to build an audience, customer or client base, listening at deeper levels is crucial for your business success.
Engaging online with customers is not unlike real life. The difference is we have social media/networks and great tools to help us really get to know them and speak to their listening, then deliver solutions
"Years of research have revealed that the single most important factor that separates the good companies from the great companies Adidas from Nike is the ability to listen to their customers. That's the starting poing".
"Dominant organizations, are those that can discern meaning from the information given. In other words, they're doing more than listening. They're hearing. And they're deriving their direction from what they hear".
How, exactly, does such effective listening work?
Here is what caught my attention:
Understand the unconscious
**A vast majority of human experience, communication and thought take place on an unconscious level - this is the first step to listening to the customer.
**We're continually taking note of the enviornment around us - how people interact within that enviornment and what role we play as individuals
**That information has a profound role in guiding customer behavior
**Truly effective communication means being able to listen on
multiple levels to what is said and what is left unsaid
Access Archetypal Images: A single image is worth a thousand words for a simple reason:
**The unconscious mind does not bother with language. Symbols, pictures, and iconography speak directly to your customer's psyche,
**bypassing and transcending all other forms of communication to take on the leading role in influencing your customer.
Listening, then, also means understanding which archetypal images resonate most with your customers and are the most relevant to them.
Selected by Jan Gordon covering "Content Curation, Social Business and Beyond"
Humans have been telling stories with pictures since the days of cave paintings, so we should be pretty good at it by now.
All right, want to increase your business? Then translate your business stories into videos.
I know I know, who's got the time and which is the best tool to use? Most of the stories I share with my clients happens in the board room. When I think of taking some of my business stories and creating a video or two to share on my website, I get just completely overwhelmed.
But this infographic drives home the necessity of creating these videos so that your stories can do your marketing for you. For example, for those of you who have products 85% of customers are likely to purchase a product after watching a video on your website about it. Wow!
For service businesses, 65% of the C-suite or top senior executives of the company will continue to research you after viewing one of your videos. Wow again!
There are quite a number of articles in this curated collection about tools and strategies for creating effective digital stories. So dig in, learn lots, and work creating these videos into your schedule. And I'll work hard on trying to take my own advice!
In the meantime, check out the rest of the infographic and see what other gems you can find.
Let's begin with an article that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) at the end of last year. Narrative vs Evidence-Based Medicine—And, Not Or was written by Zachary Meisel and in it he said: "Scientific reports are genuinely dispassionate, characterless, and ahistorical. But their translation and dissemination should not be. Stories are an essential part of how individuals understand and use evidence."
Data is supposed to be cold and objective; but the dissemination of your data can be warm and subjective. So go ahead, tell a story with your data. Because if you don't, you run the risk of falling behind. As Meisel continued: "Those who espouse only evidence—without narratives about real people—struggle to control the debate. Typically, they lose."
It’s become pretty much axiomatic these days that if you're really serious about getting your data across to your audience, you need to tell a story with it. Stories are more engaging and convincing than mere data. If you want to influence someone’s behaviour you need to touch their heartstrings and move them to tears. And you won't do that if you only engage their logical left brains. No, you also need to impose yourself on their creative and emotional right brains.
Which all sounds promising and exciting, but we need to remember that it's data we’re talking about here. Data is logical and soul-less and is usually a collection of seemingly disconnected facts. How are we going to fit that into a story?
Love this article with good ideas for keeping storytelling with data sweet and simple.
Thanks Gregg Morris @greggvm and his Story and Narrative curation for originally finding this post!
Omar Kattan: "Lego understood very early on that they’re not in the toy business, but instead, the imagination business. As a result of this, Lego brought their bricks to life through the magical power of story told through multiple platforms."
This piece was written by R "Ray" Wang for softwareinsider, there are great insights and strategy for businesses who want to stay ahead of the curve.
Why did I curate this article? Because the foundation for an effective story is providing context. But what do we mean by that, especially when we are using biz stories to influence sales, build relationships, and grow loyal customers?
This article by R Ray Wang digs deeper into context from a marketing perspective that will definitely make you smarter about how to craft your stories to connect to your audiences. My friend and colleague Jan Gordon scooped this first and wrote the following review. Happy reading!
Review written by fellow curator Jan L. Gordon:
Here are the highlights of this article:
The Real-Time is Filled with Flaws
The hype around big data, social media, and mobility has many folks imagining the real-time enterprise in the future of work, next generation customer experiences, matrix commerce, or the data to decisions journey.
While real-time theoretically leads to quicker information and faster response times, t.he reality requires closer examination for three reasons:
Here is a brief overview:
1. Customers ad employees only want engagement aligned with self interest
**Relevancy of information is required for customers and employees to respond
**Real-time interactions quickly evolve into noise.
2. No human can truly handle the volume and flow of real-time interactions.
3. Real time is not fast enough - Reaction does not lead to a better customer experience or employee interaction
Delivering context is the secret to right time success
Context provides the key ingredient in improving outcome
Why? Context provides the relevancy required for not only anticipation, but also prediction
The Bottom line: Start with Seven Dimensions of Context Drivers:
"In the design of an engagement strategy, success will require organizations to factor the seven dimensions of context drivers."
relationships, time, location, business process, role, sentiment, intent
Selected by Jan Gordon covering "Curation, Social Business and Beyond"
ComputerworldMost firms have no big data plans, survey findsComputerworldSurvey respondents with no plans to roll out Hadoop or other big data analytics software said doing so requires a specific business case, and in most instances they didn't see...
Co-creation is at the heart of how Enviu ideates, develops, and markets its solutions for social and environmental issues. With our Co-creation Guide we want to share our experience with those aiming to do the same.
A brand is like the lead character of its own story. And like any story character, brands have values and beliefs that become associated with them through their actions. The challenge for marketers is to characterize their brands first before...
Here's a terrific infographic from colleague Jim Signorelli that will help you create a persona for your business. Once you have a persona, it becomes much easier to target your storytelling and marketing/branding efforts. And connect more forcefully with customers.
There are 2 ways of finding your persona:
Examine all of your stories and determine their common characteristics. Then look at Jim's infographic to refine and finalize those qualities. Create your persona based on your discoveries. Examine this infographic to determine which character/characters you think you/your business embodies most. Check it against your stories. Build your persona from there.
What is a persona? It is a descriptive profile of a typical customer that includes a character type/archetype, demographic info, and as much flesh and bones information you can collect to create a bit of a story about this customer -- their likes, dislikes, challenges, etc.
Thanks Jim for putting together this very helpful infographic.
And if you want to dig into this topic more -- and get even smarter about using archetypes for marketing/branding -- read The Hero and The Outlaw; Building Extraordinary Brands Through the Power of Archetypes by M. Mark & C. Pearson. It's one of my bibles :)
A business owner's greatest challenges often come after the business is established, and growing pains necessitate the need to introduce change, to ensure ongoing success.
Any business owner who has been down this path, will attest to the problems they encountered from the resistence of staff, towards embracing the changes proposed for the future health of the business.
This excellent article, suggests that leaders need to understand the predictable, universal sources of resistance, and it identifies the 10 most common that need to be strategised around to overcome resistence.
All business owners know that it is much easier to talk about changing the culture of a business, than it is to effectively bring about any meaningful change, in a well established culture.
Anyone who has succeeded in effecting a change in the culture that previously prevailed in their business, will tell you it took a lot longer than expected, and the disruption to the business was greater than expected.
This excellent article, acknowledges the difficulties of effecting lasting change in the culture of any business, and it suggests an easier way that can be adopted to effect immediate change that can be built on as the initial change suggested takes effect.
Peter Usagi: " The Power of Myth was one of the most popular TV series in the history of public television. In a series of six hour-long episodes, American mythologist Joseph Campbell peeled back the layers of mystery that had once shrouded our species ancient storytelling traditions" ...
As a business owner, you dream of achieving sustained high levels of productivity, profitability and employee satisfaction, and you understand the profits that the achievement of such dreams can deliver to your business.
What you may not know, is that research has shown that it is possible to achieve such dreams, if you emulate the traits of highly successful businesses.
This excellent article, introduces the ASPIRE model for achieving greatness in business, and it identifies six common traits exhibited by highly successful businesses.
As technology becomes more advanced and more accessible across multiple platforms, it’s only natural for consumers to expect increasingly higher standards of creativity and engagement from content creators. Experimentation is all well and good, but what do audiences actually want? To answer this question, research group Latitude has interviewed 158 early adopters and compiled a report that forms the first phase of its The Future of Storytelling project.
This article popped up today and I really like the 4 "I's" that it says the best business stories bring to the table: immersion, integration, interactivity, and impact. All stories, if told really well, do this. They immerse the audience and teller in the experience of the story, facilitate integration of messages, are co-created experiences that often generate story sharing back-and forth (interactivity), and have an impact on both the teller and the audience.
These 4 "I's" I really like -- they help capture the intent and purpose of our business storytelling. If your stories are not hitting all 4 dimensions, go fix them!
The author Martin Bryant is framing his points here in the world of transmedia storytelling -- where stories are told across multiple technology formats. The results of the study shared here contain no surprises if one is familiar with the dynamics of storytelling however.
For example: people influencing the media or producers in the creation of stories. Well, that's been happen for a hundreds of years now. Yet I do agree that the rate and amount of access has increased with technology, all of which is a good thing.
So what's the take-away here?
First -- focus on the 4 "I's" in any business storytelling you do in order to be successful. And expand your notions of what Interactivity, immersion, and integration can be. The info shared in the article might spark some ideas for you. If you are in business, are a blogger or content creator of any time, take these 4 "I's" to heart and do more of them.
Second -- stay tuned for the next part of this report that looks very promsing: "Latitude is currently working on phase two of its study, which it describes as “a large-scale international exploration focused on quantifying storytelling trends and opportunities, and understanding key audiences for multi-platform and transmedia experiences.”
Who tell stories to the outside world about the heart and soul of a company and what it's really like? Employees are among an organization's greatest brand champions. If employees aren't happy, customers won't be, either.
I love this quick piece by Kathy Klotz-Guest full of sound wisdom. You can't tell effective biz stories in the marketplace if the culture of your company culture contradicts your stories. Why? Because stories build trust and if you are not 'walking your talk' you can't build trust.
The story shared in this post is a gem and perfectly illustrates the point of the article. I am sure I will be sharing this with my corporate clients so they really 'get it.'
It's great when marketing comes up with fab stories to share about the company's products/services. But the BEST kind of stories come from employees themselves. That's why the best business storytelling is from the 'inside out' as this article advocates.
No matter if you are a micro-entrepreneur or a mega enterprise -- the inside and outside gotta match.
Well of course, that begs the next question: how do we gather employee stories? I recommend getting a firm grasp of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) as a process and tool to help you evoke those stories. If you are a solo-preneur, asking yourself AI questions can be very illuminating. As an enteprise, AI will have casdacing positive effects on your culture. Google AI and you will be deluged with resources.
So get busy making sure your inside and outside stories match for the best biz storytelling experiences that lead to consistent growth and raving fans.
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