Jason Loeb encourages you to tell your story – it’s bound to be good because you are here to tell it.
“People see the Glory, but they don’t know the Story” – Jason Loeb
Have you ever considered speaking at industry events or is a fear of public speaking holding you back? If so, just remember that you’re not alone, since public speaking is the number one phobia in the world and, globally, effects around 75% of people. To start, it can be helpful to note that speaking at industry events has nothing to do with telling people “What to do.” Think of it as a conversation where you’re sharing. Start off small like with a group of your closest friends or at a small mastermind group. See how it goes. If you need motivation to keep going when it gets tough, think of all the times you overheard a throw away comment from someone in passing or in a discussion that proved to be life altering for you. Think of public speaking, as just that: an opportunity to share with others what could be valuable to their lives to know. Your experience has the chance to be someone else’s cautionary tale or inspiration.
Either way, it can be life altering and much appreciated to many that receive your anecdote, that you shared your story. Jason knows through experience, that sharing experiences, take-aways, and useful insights is good for business. Specifically good for your business as the presenter and good for your audience’s businesses as well because they can benefit from your experiences and insights. Industry events, mastermind groups, or networking groups (from Chamber of Commerce Breakfasts even WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Discord groups) are all great opportunities to share helpful tips and advice with likeminded peers. They are also great venues for finding fresh inspiration. Your thoughts and ideas will also be improved by your peers, through discussions, after your presentation.
We all see the glory every day. Email subject lines, business news headlines, even through word of mouth from peers. “Did you hear the news” followed by information about some innovation or success cross our paths every day. We’ve all heard of the entrepreneur who, through what’s often labeled as being “at the right place at the right time”, has worked hard, and with a little luck became an overnight success. Stories like how Amazon.com started as a small book selling business and miraculously grew overnight to become the behemoth that we know today are the stuff of legend. What’s missing in this entrepreneurial Cinderella story? Bezos’s long hours packing boxes in the warehouse, securing finance, developing a clear vision beyond selling books, and of course attracting and retaining a team capable of making that vision a reality. In other words, what’s missing is the “story behind the Amazon.com glory.” While not as glitzy as the headlines, these “stories behind the stories” inspired frontline entrepreneurs deep in the trenches of building the next Amazon.com. When you find yourself working 100 hours weeks for months at a time, you can take solace in knowing it will all be worth it.
To see the true and useful picture, Jason notes, “it’s important to share the story of your personal business journey. Not just the results. It will inspire others struggling through the inevitable rough patches that they can do it too.” For example, Sudsies grew from a humble 3 employee (Jason included) dry cleaner into an operational juggernaut which today counts 200+ employees and growing. The glory, often touted, is how “Sudsies has enjoyed a 9,900% increase in staff due to its staggering growth.” The story behind the glory however is much more interesting. Growing from a coin op laundry business, into a respectable dry cleaner, into the largest network of delivery vehicles in south Florida. Then continuing to grow until becoming the touchstone aftercare dry cleaner to international luxury brands. As you can imagine this type of success certainly entails a remarkable back story. Showcasing HOW it happened, WHY it happened and with WHOM it happened is the narrative thread of virtually every one of Jason’s public address presentations.
The how’s, why’s, and the whom could likewise form the basis of your sharing, with peers over lunch or as part of a formal keynote presentation. Especially so, if you’ve been massively successful in business (in or outside of your main industry of expertise). It is even more important to share as a market leader and this is one of the many reasons that industry leaders, that are massively successful, like Jason Loeb are invited to tradeshows or TED talks; to share their side of the story, in the hopes that any personal experiences, observations, or insights shared can lead to similar success stories for others in their industry, adjacent industries, completely opposite sectors, or even for other areas in one’s life.
Here is the key to sharing successfully. Make sure that the focus is not just on spreadsheets, facts, and numbers. Relying solely on facts, in this instance, would be detrimental – this isn’t a quarterly revenue meeting after all. No, instead success requires connecting with the people, in attendance, on an emotional level. Remember, the goal isn’t to “show our report card” for the organization’s performance but rather to share a message with people (not experientially dissimilar to you) that resonates and inspires. So how can you do that? Follow the mechanics of good storytelling. Set the scene with the premise, environment, or obstacles that were at play (you give some context or back-story at the outset) so the audience can have a starting point, a visual, or their bearings to start (as they visualize embarking on the journey with you). In advance of your speech, determine the structure of your tale, through the themes, that will be illustrated in your anecdote (Western storytelling focuses on the individual protagonist succeeding against all odds, whereas Eastern storytelling focuses on a team of individuals banding together as a unit to grow and make a change happen). Knowing your structure and themes, ahead of time, will ensure you stay the course throughout the beginning, middle, and end of your story. It’s also a safeguard so if pressure causes you to go astray at any point during the telling, you can safely make you way back to “the point” you wish to convey. Lastly, don’t be boring. It is when people are entertained (emotionally engaged through laughter, shock, awe, or a subversion of expectations) that they are truly open to absorbing and retaining a story or lessons being shared. Jason Loeb always focuses on connection, not persuasion.
FIVE TIPS for Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs:
- Find arenas to speak in. Whether a gathering at an industry event, WhatsApp groups, Masterminds, or other networking channels, take every opportunity to share tips, find inspiration, and improve together with fellow peers in the community.
- Look for the Story behind the Glory. Everyone has a story and almost everyone loves to talk about themselves in the right setting. Make it a point of policy to engage in “tell me your story” type conversations. You will learn something new, and the story may be a valuable anecdote you can use in the future to further illustrate your own story as well.
- Share the story of your own personal business journey. You never know who you may inspire or what example you may set. There is always something to be learned and something to be gained in the pure joy of giving and by sharing your personal business journey, you not only showcase what is possible, but you also open the door to conversations and exploration. Give the backstory (the HOW, the WHY, and the WHOM), and you’ll be amazed at how it structures a narrative through line in your industry presentations.
- Focus on connection instead of persuasion. Establishing an emotional connection is the best tool for purgation and a truly open slate. Numbers, facts, and objectively provable datapoints are great for fueling arguments but persuasion, at the end of the day, is about changing feelings. Actively listen, connect, know how and why someone feels the way that they do. Then, maybe you may agree and connect, or you may have a chance at a better understanding.
- Being in the “People Business” is good for every business. By being “people centric”, you ensure that the DNA of your company is making products and services into better experiences for customers because you are putting “people” at the center of your focus. This then leads to putting people to people relationships at the forefront of everything you do (from who you choose to hire to your vendors, and who you choose to partner with). Regardless of your industry or sector, attracting people to a “people first” mission will always be great for business.