"Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin..." is the only one way to start this weeks post.
I realise that this reference will be lost entirely on the younger generation and any non-UK followers, this is from a kids TV show when I was young called "Listen with Mother" and this weeks' post is all about story telling.
How important is getting to grips with story telling in business? According to Shane Snow It will be the #1 skill in the next 5 years, and I tend to agree with him.
I would not know where to begin with this this in demand skill if it were not for Hubspot, who had their Inbound Marketing conference recently or for Bill Aulet, who has a new book on "Disciplined Entrepreneurship."
I have also just finished my most challenging project involving, what I hope is, the creation of good, relevant content. All of which has led me to reflect on my endeavours to get to grips with the art of story telling.
Day 1 - Culture Starts
An organisations' culture will develops in a vacuum if its not carefully cultivated. So after reading some great books I realised that culture starts on day 1 and a vital part of your culture is to have a good story to tell. The concept of good story telling is how the Te@ch Stories logo evolved.
When Lou Gerstner was commenting on his time as IBM CEO, when he was turning the fortunes of the company around he said;
2) Having great products - Which requires the ability to articulate your vision in early stage development and the benefits of the product when its ready for roll out
All these books have had a profound effect on me and led to the creation of Tech Story which was a direct result of reading about the importance of creating good content, and writing in a way that makes your ideas and concepts tell a story so that it "sticks"
Whats in a Name - What's the Tech Story?
- The Font and colour reminds me that I want to help bring technology in education to life, that any tech project I work on should have a compelling story.
- The @ reminds me that but it's not a tech story - this is not tech for the sake of tech
- The way you present your ideas is so important! To give your idea the best chance you need to have a compelling story.
You need to convey to your audience that you are aware of the issues and care about finding a solution in an interesting and memorable way... at the very least that you should respect your audience enough not to waste their time or bore them with "death by power point!"
Another aspect of this logo are the bright colours, this is designed to remind me that;
1) The priority with the tech is that they are great toys that make learning fun
2) That the logo is Fun... Just because its work doesn't mean that it can't be fun! Why go to work when you can go to fun?!
"In a meeting about MacIntoch support documentation, someone said that the industry standard was that user manuals should be written at 12th grade reading ability level. Steve Jobs replied "No. It should be written at 1st grade level...maybe we should get a 1st grader to write it" he added manual comment." The Steve Jobs Way
The way you convey your idea or vision regarding a new product/idea/solution can be as important to the products success, and can matter as much the products functionality. David Ogilvy has a great statement to remind us of how to think about our customers with marketing campaigns;
"The consumer is not an idiot. she is your wife… your friends and family” David Ogilvy
Being succinct, compelling and keeping it simple are areas that most people would benefit from and, personally, I look forward to the day that I successfully put Nancy Duarte's advice into action!
I am about to publish my latest report "Technology in Education - Algorithms and Relationships" which looks at the importance of the educator-EdTech supplier relationship which, believe it or not highlights the importance of sales people... It would appear that Edtech salesmen are not dead; but they do need to evolve to avoid extinction!
But through this content it looks like it has paid off immediately as I may have the opportunity to produce a video for the report in the style of Sir Ken's Shifting Paradigms, which is a great way make ideas stick.
But one thing that I do know is that I would never have had the confidence to try without Dan & Chip Heath's book to highlight the value of trying as well as a practical "how to guide." It's perhaps not surprising that a book about making your idea's memorable has you hooked after 2 pages.
"Made to Stick" opens by asking you to recall details of a, the Kidney heist, which is about a page long and information from a 6 sentence corporate jargon.
The first story is vivid and has the concepts that make a great story - simple, unexpected, concrete, credible and emotional. The second is uninspiring corporate mumbo jumbo jargon.
The Master Tech Story Teller
For anyone who wants to see the delivery and results of a great story teller who creates great products - how to bring your ideas and technology to life, then there is no better example than Steve Jobs....and I'll leave you in the capable hands of Nancy Duarte who will tell you about the secret structure behind Steve Jobs presentations and other great talks.
In the event that you like my blog/reports and would like to explore this skill that will be in demand within the next 5 years then my recommendation would Go out and get;
Disciplined Entreprenuership - Bill Aulet,
Made to Stick - Dan & Chip Heath
Slide:Ology - Nancy Duarte
Inbound Marketing - Brian Halligan
If you don't like the content I produce then at least I've got another 4 years to hone these skills. Like the development of the logo I have a little time to improve and get it right... but with my Te@ch Stories logo I'm unlikely to how important this task is to the culture I want to establish.
I'm not sure if I'll have an idea that will change the world... but if I get it right I may have one that makes a difference in Edtech.