Tell Compelling Stories: Bridge Gaps & Make Connections // Workshop 1

Part One

Can you tell your business’ story in a way that compels people to want to do business with you?

Do you feel like you’re able to communicate your story in a way that compels people to take action?

Do people want to do business with you before even seeing your work?

Are you able to connect with your audience with your business’ story?

Do you know what’s missing?

Do you leave a networking event having explained what you do concisely and clearly?

Do you know why people are confused as to what you do?

If I can be honest, I have often felt confused about what I do. I feel like there is so much going on in my head and I have so many interests that I tend to overwhelm myself and honestly avoid answering the question, “what do you do?”.

For years I have helped people get clarity with their businesses and their offerings. I have helped them claim their confidence because they are amazing at what they do. But for years, my clarity and elevator pitch has felt as clear as a mud puddle.

I was ashamed that I couldn’t figure this out for myself.

Pre-Workshop Lesson 1

Listen to the Pre-Workshop Lesson

In May of 2020, I took the first online a Story Brand Virtual Workshop. I paid a little extra to be part of a small group that would meet during the action segments and we’d work on their areas of their story where they were struggling or over-explaining.

I vividly remember helping people and having so much fun listening to where they were struggling and brainstorming with them. I was an active participant because this IS what I do.

But when it came to my turn I remember feeling so ashamed because I was not able to clearly state what my business did and asking the facilitator to move on to someone else.

The instructor was AWESOME and didn’t let me wiggle out of doing the exercise. He said, “no diane, you have been helping everybody, now it is time for us to help you.”

I almost started crying. I usually lift others, focus on them, and help them. But when the light got on me I felt like a mess, I felt unprofessional, and felt like a fraud.

This feeling did not leave me after that May day. It bubbles up quite often honestly, especially when I am trying something new, or when I am pivoting, or when I am staking my flag in the ground and saying that X is what I do.

I read a lot of books, well I listen to a lot of books. Sometimes if they are really good, I also get a hard copy. The book I have read that has helped me with this story conundrum is Kindra Hall’s Stories That Stick, and Choose Your Story, Change Your Life. And JJ Peterson and Donald Miller’s Marketing Made Simple.

From these books and many others I have a live workshop style episode planned for March 20 at 2:30pm ET / 6:30pm GMT / 11:30am PT. Make sure you don’t miss an email about this by signing up here:

If this sounds like something you’d like to participate in let me know in the comments below. I will be running more of these workshops. But this series is free.

This week is special, we’re doing something new. I opened up the workshop and asked for volunteers and some of you responded. Thankfully! There’s a live component, a worksheet, and a recorded component to this workshop. 

The worksheet allows everyone to follow along. I hope to see you at the live taping of the episode. 

This is part of a three part series and is breaking down your story. You tell a different story to different people depending on where you encounter them. 

I can’t wait to share what I have learned and help you to construct a powerful story that will connect, be memorable, and will resonate with your audience. So much so that even if you tell someone who is not your ideal customer, they will remember you, and your story when their friends need your services. Then they share you with them. 

I am stoked to see how this turns out for you. Even if you can’t do the live session with us tomorrow I hope you will let me know if you were able to complete the worksheet and prompts. 

Live Workshop

Listen to the Live Workshop

This is a live workshop where you are going to be able to learn how to hone your business’ story. 

When you are at an event or in line at the grocery you might get asked what you do. 

Do you know what to say?

We are going to work through the components of a compelling and effective story and how to make it memorable. 

A few people will be on screen but everyone is welcome to follow along. This is part of a three part workshop series where we learn, ideate, practice, refine, and do it again. 

Today we tackle one part of your business, but teach you how to apply it to different areas of your business. I am so excited!!! 

Downloads & Affiliate Links

Amy Cuddy Ted Talk:
Amy Cuddy’s book Presence:
Stories that Stick by Kindra Hall:
Choose Your Story, Change Your Life by Kindra Hall:
Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller:
Marketing Made Simple by Donald Miller & JJ Peterson:


Transcript of Pre-Workshop Lesson 1

[00:00:00] diane: Hey, this is Diane Gibbs with Creatives Ignite, and this is Workshop one of a three part series. And this part is about telling compelling stories that bridge gap, that bridge gaps and make connections I am using. Okay. Information that I’ve gotten from life, my life, my experience, plus, um, StoryBrand, a whole bunch of StoryBrand books I’ve read, plus Kendra Hall, uh, which is Donald Miller, JJ Peterson, and then stories that stick and choose your story, [00:00:30] change Your Life with Kendra Hall as well.

[00:00:32] So we’re gonna jump right in, and here it is. If you’re like me, you have a ton of interest. Oh my gosh, my business says all these things. How am I ever gonna tell one story? Well. I don’t think you tell one story to every single person that you meet. This is a really important thing. I think people call it code switching a lot of time, but I am not gonna, if.

[00:00:56] I know that you’re interested in something. I’m gonna hone in on [00:01:00] what that thing is, and I’m gonna make a connection. Me and you are gonna make a connection. If I’m talking to a potential client, I’m gonna ask them some questions about their business and see how I can maybe help them solve a problem or somebody else I know could help them.

[00:01:14] So. I may not have, um, something for everybody, but if they’re a business owner and I’m meeting them, I’m gonna ask them about, um, maybe their marketing or their branding, or how their advertising [00:01:30] is. Or maybe it’s like Paul is a book designer and he’s making that, uh, he’s trying to help people make their books.

[00:01:40] So they might, he might talk to ’em about having a story. Um. So there’s lots of things, but today we’re gonna focus on one thing because it’s, I want you to have a story for our, for all these. Just like, I want you to have a landing page and a lead magnet for all these things, but you can’t tell everything that you do and I [00:02:00] can’t, and so I have to pick.

[00:02:01] It’s very difficult, but let’s just pick one and work through it. So, because it is overwhelming, that’s why we’re gonna pick one. It’s too much to think about. So we’re gonna tackle one story at a time, and we’re gonna start it right now. So I want you to think about one area of your business. If I was thinking about the all the things that I wanna do, the imagine number is something that I could, um, do this for.

[00:02:28] This is just one [00:02:30] part of my business. I could do it for the podcast, I could do it for web design. The, my web design clients, I could do it for, um. Uh, power station and, but that reaches different audiences. And so sometimes there’s crossover and sometimes they’re not. But here’s the thing. I think about these like entities on their own.

[00:02:50] So if Paul is working with a, um, a nonfiction author, that might be [00:03:00] one area of his business. Again, he can say in general book design, but I think he could have some better stories. If they weren’t so generalized. Amy, same thing with wine. Okay, so one area of your business. Because we’re thinking about all the things that we’re gonna make after, and these stories are gonna help us to tell the lead, use the.

[00:03:20] What we’re gonna do for the lead magnet, we’re gonna have one landing page, one presentation, maybe about that thing, one type of customer at a time. So again, let’s [00:03:30] pick one thing that you’re gonna do today. Paul doesn’t have to do what I said. Amy doesn’t have to do it. I said, um, this will make sense if you’re watching this later or you’re coming live, ’cause Amy and Paul will be there.

[00:03:41] Um, so why should we tell stories instead of listing benefits? So oftentimes it’ll be like, here’s the benefits. Compare these three things, right? We do this, we, we do this when we give a bid. Um, it is not that it’s bad, but it doesn’t create something that [00:04:00] is memorable and shareable. So features and benefits are important, um, but that’s not the thing that we’re going to remember and then share about.

[00:04:10] We’re going to remember a story. And we’re gonna share that story. If, if I’m in line and I’m possibly somebody’s customer and they tell me something and then I remember that, now I’m gonna be like, oh my goodness, you have got to work with Carrie because. Carrie [00:04:30] told me this story and you, this is totally a Carrie story, right?

[00:04:34] Like you need to talk to Carrie about this. Memorable and shareable. That’s why we need stories. So the components of a good story, according to StoryBrand, Donald Miller or Kendra Hall, there are is a ca transformational character. A character goes through a transformation. So we’re gonna practice this today.

[00:04:55] We’re gonna come, we’re going to. Um, in the workshop we’re gonna do some [00:05:00] exercises where we’re going to have some personal stories, some customer stories, some service stories, product stories so that you get an idea of how to do this, and then we’re gonna be able to do it for ourselves. So we’re gonna do it for things that are easier and then we’re gonna.

[00:05:16] Do the thing for ourselves at the end, or you may have to do that ’cause you may need a little bit more thinking, but sometimes when we are doing it together, it can bubble some more ideas. So to connect you need to paint the picture of what life was like before. If you don’t know who this [00:05:30] is, this is Amy Cuddy.

[00:05:31] She has a book that I love and I can’t remember what it is. I’ll remember it before I come to the workshop. But she also has a TED Talk and it’s about power posing and it is. Amazing. And she paints, she paints a picture of what she was like before, um, an event that was transformational for her. And what was life, [00:06:00] life was like after, and.

[00:06:04] This is a very powerful Ted Talk. She cries, she gets a little choked up. I have, I cry when I watch it. So she is connecting me. Why do I tell, why do I have a picture of Amy Cuddy in this presentation? Is because this story she told was so transformational. But here’s another thing that. Neither, um, Donald Miller or Kendra Hall have talked about, but it’s maybe [00:06:30] self-evident is that there is sometimes a second part to the story.

[00:06:34] Kendra Hall actually does mention it in either this book or the other book. I can’t remember. I think it’s the other one. I’ve read both of them so many times this semester. It’s a little, a little squirrely in my head, but she talks about Taylor Swift and when Taylor Swift in 2017 or 2018, she didn’t get any Grammys.

[00:06:53] And this could have been the end, the last part of her story, but Taylor was like, no, this isn’t [00:07:00] the end. But a lot of people, she’s had Grammys, had tons of Grammys, many years, she could have said, you know what, I’m not resonating anymore. This must be the end of my story. This is the end of my career doing this.

[00:07:12] But she said, no, I’m gonna make better stories. And whether you like Taylor Swift or not, she continues to win Grammys. She had one bad year, but this was just the middle of her story. Is this the middle of your story? Is this a pivot point? Is this the end of a story? So first we have to paint the normal.

[00:07:29] If you know Amy Cuddy’s [00:07:30] story, she was in a car accident. So much so that she really identified as a, um, as a, an intellectual and it. Took her down many different degrees in her IQ level, and it was so much so that she never thought she would even finish undergrad. And I think it took her seven years to finish.

[00:07:52] Um, that that was the, what they call, um, Donald Miller would call the transformation [00:08:00] event. Or, um, it could be a process, a transformational process. It could be a service, a product, whatever. Right. Um, so there’s the normal. This is how Donald Miller calls it, a transformational character and then Kendra Hall in stories that stick calls it.

[00:08:18] Normal explosion, new normal. I can’t remember what my slide is. Okay, so here’s a personal story. That’s me. I know. Chunky little arms. That’s my cousin Kathy and her dog. Early on I was introduced to [00:08:30] dogs. Okay? I wasn’t afraid of this dog. There was this dog. I don’t think this isn’t Rex, but. This was kind of like, I think this was dog’s name was Snoopy.

[00:08:39] He had a little bit of energy, but I was okay with him. I wasn’t deathly afraid. Again, I am small. Right. Um, at about this age, again, that’s me with the arrow over me. Um, the, an event happened that changed my life and, but it was about this [00:09:00] time. I might have been three or four. I don’t think I was five. I was three or four.

[00:09:04] I might be. Five in this picture, but I was always short, so you really can’t tell. This is what my dad and my sister looked like. The explosion happened when we went over to my neighbor’s house to, um, feed their dog. They were outta town. We were gonna feed their dog, and I had only petted the dog through the chain link fence.

[00:09:27] And this dog [00:09:30] was a Boston Terri. If you know these, these are small little dogs, but they have a lot of energy. Well, I did not know I, the only experience I had was maybe with my cousin Kathy’s dogs, who Rex was a lot bigger and the, that dog, Snoopy was a little bit hyper, but nothing like this dog next door.

[00:09:51] And the dog next door had never done anything, never tried to bite me, only licked my hands. Um, but we walked into the [00:10:00] gate. My dad, my sister and I, I obviously am the shorter one. He jumped on my, um, my, my whatever. My shoulders pushed me over and began to eat my face, or at least that’s what I thought I was screaming.

[00:10:20] My dad and my sister were laughing. I thought they were happy to see me die. Literally, this is what I thought. As a little kid, [00:10:30] they are laughing at me dying, and I am dying. From then on, I was deathly afraid of dogs. It didn’t matter if it was little or big. Um, it was until the fifth grade I went to my CA different cousin, um, my cousin Scott, my Aunt Joe’s house, and they had a chihuahua and a a, um, St.

[00:10:54] Bernard, quite a different in size there. And I said to my dad, I said, I guess I’m not, [00:11:00] I’m gonna stay in the car the whole weekend. And I was so, I was not getting outta the car, I said. Uh, I can’t do it. I mean, I was that afraid. My dad did not know I was that afraid. But for years, I’d been shimmying up, uh, mailboxes to get away from dogs.

[00:11:18] I was that afraid of dogs. Um, I did end up going inside. I was standing on my dad’s shoulders. My dad’s like six one. I was standing on his shoulders because I would [00:11:30] not, I was okay with the little dog. And I did get okay with Barnaby, the. St. Bernard later, but it took a lot. The fear was really, really big.

[00:11:40] This could have been the end of my story. Um, the new normal was that I was now, after that dog pushed me over, changed my life that I never looked at dogs. I, I was always afraid. I thought they were death traps. Um, but that wasn’t the end of my story. My [00:12:00] dad was actually super embarrassed, I think, um, because I was so adamant about being so scared that he said, we’re getting a dog.

[00:12:08] We have to get a dog because she’s, it’s too much. And obviously couldn’t go to the shelter and get a dog. That was big. ’cause I was already afraid of it, you know? But a puppy, so we got a puppy and. This is where if something isn’t serving you, obviously the dog wasn’t eating my face, but that is really, you know, nobody [00:12:30] talked me through it.

[00:12:31] So that’s really what I thought. I thought he was killing me and I didn’t know because I hadn’t had any experience. But it was so, uh, shaking to me that it changed the way of my life and for 10 years. And you think, ah, 10 years. But it was 10 years of my life. But that was not a true story, and it wasn’t a, I mean, it was true to me, but it wasn’t really what happened.

[00:12:58] Um, [00:13:00] you have to rewrite that story. So that’s why I tell you the Taylor Swift story, it wasn’t gonna be the end of her story. So the ones that aren’t serving you, you have to ask, am I really a terrible illustrator? Nope. I need to stop saying that. Can I learn to draw? Yes. Could I learn to write? Yes. Then I can learn to draw.

[00:13:16] I just have to keep at it. So the explosion was when we got. Um, my dog in fifth grade in, I think it was the, maybe the spring semester of fifth grade. And this is my dog that changed my life. Her [00:13:30] name is Sugar, obviously she’s not with us anymore. She only lived to age eight, and the one on the left is her at age seven.

[00:13:36] She died right before I went to Auburn for freshman year. So, um, love that dog. Changed my life. Not a small dog. About 50, 60 pound, um, English bulldog, um, mix. So. But a lot of English bulldog. So the new normal is now that I love dogs. I’ve had three dogs since, uh, they’re not all little, so [00:14:00] Jackson’s the one right here on the left, buddy was in our wedding.

[00:14:03] It does look like I married my dog. I did not. But that’s how important dogs became. Jerry was 120 pound dog, um, like a rottweiler something mix. Um, dogs have been such a part of my life that. That’s how important that I had it on my wedding day. So what I want you to do is get ready for a personal story.

[00:14:25] You’re going to tell a personal story. That’s exercise one. I want you to think [00:14:30] about a personal story that you could do, um, normal explosion. So an event or something, um, that happened in the new normal. Maybe you’re, you’re, you don’t need a rewrite explosion in the new normal again, but let’s, let’s work with this at least a normal.

[00:14:48] Explosion. New normal for personal story. This is transformation. The next thing we’re gonna do, just so you have are prepped, is a product story. I love this [00:15:00] lamp. I also probably $60 lamp. I love it. I have two of them. John has one. I have one. The other is this. Did I tell? Well, I did tell you how much that one cost.

[00:15:13] This, and I’ll tell you why I love that lamp. Um, for other reasons. But this Wacom tablet, um, is the second one I’ve had. I’ve had it for 10 years now, and, um, it helps me not have carpal tunnels. So it helps my health. It also helps me to draw [00:15:30] better. I can draw while I’m, it’s just a more natural for me. I don’t.

[00:15:34] I, I definitely have s suffered from carpal tunnel. But here the other thing is we are gonna be talking about a value story. And a value story is not just money. So yes, this was under $60, but I have never had to buy another lamp. And it is super flexible. I love that it can come. I love that it’s dimmable.

[00:15:55] Can you see it dimming And then you can put it, but it’s a quick on off and [00:16:00] then I can keep. Uh, making it, but it also has more of a daylight look, so when I’m on camera, it helps it to look better. This Wacom tablet was $125. The last one lasted me 22 years. I don’t know how much better, like it continues to get updated and they make a really good product.

[00:16:22] That’s a product story. Normal, new, normal. I was having carpal tunnel before. Right. We can, we can do this. I’ll [00:16:30] go into a little bit more when we’re together a service story, um, and you’re going to talk about maybe a service that you, uh, purchased. Again, this is you being the customer because we need, we’re gonna be talking to customers, so we need to have some customer stories, service story.

[00:16:47] And I’m gonna show you one of my customer stories again, because I was also a customer, but he, she is my customer, but she, um, this is, she also has a service based business, so [00:17:00] this was a very fast. One that I did for her for social media. This is an animated gif that there is another screen that has her information, but there was a before your dog is tearing up everything during your dog is during play care.

[00:17:16] This is how awesome your dog is. Um, playing with other, they’re getting all their energy out and at the end of the day, this is her customer’s real photo of their dog just. Sacked out. [00:17:30] Now that isn’t necessarily all about the customer, so this is the customer is having trouble with their dog. They have a dog that has a lot of energy.

[00:17:38] They want to keep their dog, they want to have a relationship with their dog, but they don’t have time. I’m busy. I’m a busy doctor. Maybe. I mean, I’m not a doctor, but whatever. They’re busy, they’re a mom or they’re working or whatever. They are a dad and they don’t have time to run the dog. They don’t have time to do this, so they [00:18:00] use walks and wags to.

[00:18:02] Have their dog be healthy, they’re cleaned when they get home and they are tired. They’re ready to be loved on. They don’t wanna tear up everything. They’re getting socialized. They’re getting trained. It is a win, win, win for the dog and win for you and win for your family. This is a customer story. So this is an example of a customer story, uh, in stories that stick.

[00:18:27] Uh, Kendra and her team came up with [00:18:30] four things that need to be part of a story, an identifiable character, a specific detail, authentic emotion in a significant moment. I’ve gone pretty quickly through these. We can break these down. Um, if you think about the story I told you with the dog, there was definitely authentic emotion.

[00:18:51] There were specific details, putting my hand through the fence, the dog coming, eating my ha face, my other, you know, cousin’s dog. [00:19:00] And then a significant moment in time when that happened and both explosions happened. I want you, no matter what story you’re telling, you’re gonna be thinking about normal explosion, new normal, but you’re also gonna be thinking, have I painted a picture of an identifiable.

[00:19:16] Identifiable character. Is it you? Is it someone else? Again, me as a somebody who needs a good light, um, that’s me. I am the identifiable character. But in the story of my customer, [00:19:30] um, I was talking about one of her customers. One of her customers is a busy working mom and um, she doesn’t have time to, they have this family dog.

[00:19:42] They love this family dog. They have to. Have some sort of exercise for the dog and engagement. So now it’s, it relieves the mom. The mom is now relieved. Did I tell you at all what that costs? It doesn’t matter because now the mom doesn’t have [00:20:00] to clean up shredded pillows and stuff like that. Right. Um, and I showed you some exam, some pictures.

[00:20:08] So we’re gonna have an example. We’re gonna talk about an example of a customer that. You know, when kind of thing. And then we’re also gonna have analogies. I, these are not two things that they’ve talked about in either in any of these books, but I use analogy a lot in class, as Carrie will know. And, um, you’ll maybe [00:20:30] if you’ve watched more of episodes in the past, you know, I have a lot of analogies, but I think analogies are sometimes good.

[00:20:36] So I want your stories for each part of your business to have. These, you have a story, you also have an example story, and then you have an analogy so that it helps everybody. And that’s it. That’s what our first lesson is gonna be about, and I’ll see you in a little bit.

Transcript of Live Workshop Part 1

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