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  • Francisco Mahfuz

E14. Cultural StorySelling with Jessica Breitenfeld



Below is an AI-generated transcript and therefore it may contain errors.


Francisco Mahfuz 0:00

Hi everyone, Francisco here. Just before we get started, I wanted to share something I'm really excited about. I recently launched the story powers bootcamp, a course that teaches you everything you need to know about how to find craft and tell stories that work. But it's not just an online course, because you get personalised feedback from me for all the practical activities in three hours of life coaching to work through any challenges, or focus on specific projects. So it's like if you bought a cookbook, but the chef came along with it. So go to story powers.com and click on Course, all the information you need will be there. So please check it out. And if you love the show, and would like to support us, you can go to buy me a coffee.com forward slash story powers. I drink about five coffees a day, so any support would be much appreciated. All right on with the show.


Welcome to the story powers podcast, the show about the power of stories, the people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host. This is gonna fruits. I guess today is Jessica Brighton Feld. Jessica uses adaptability, intelligence and gushed out principles to build communities, both in the real and in the virtual world. And she uses a clown in improv energy to teach connection at larger organisations, such as the dumb group, Kashia bank and Coca Cola. Jessica is full of stories, including how she travelled for 12 years through 30 countries to fix a broken back. I had lots of fun today. If you do too. Please leave us an iTunes review. If you don't just give us a bad review. But please make it funny. I'll take a laugh over a compliment any day. Ladies and gentlemen, Jessica Brighton films. Jessica, welcome to the show. Good to have you here.


Jessica Breitenfeld 2:01

Thanks. Super great to be here.


Francisco Mahfuz 2:03

So let me just start with the elephant in the room. Which is this this story about your your back. So explain to me how how one travels for 12 years through 30 countries to fix a broken back? And also how do you do that with a broken back.


Jessica Breitenfeld 2:22

So as dramatic as it sounds, I want you to imagine that you're a young girl, Francesco, young girl that has the Hollywood dream of two children a car and a picket fence. And that dream is taken from you when you're way too tall at age 12. And you fall playing basketball and a little tiny bone breaks in your back. And 90% of people have no pain with that little breakage. And I was one of those kids who got chronic 24/7 pain in my lower back. And I ignored it and I played basketball I kept playing basketball. I ignored the chiropractor's they told me to stop exercising, stop moving and take painkillers. And at around age 26. I said, well, actually my boyfriend said if you want to get better, you need to go fix this. And so that started my my journey around the world trying to find someone who believed in non western medicine who thinks that they can fix something that the West told me is unfixable.


Francisco Mahfuz 3:28

Okay, so before you started really trying to fix it, or at least not doing things that the doctors were telling you were perhaps stupid. That was a whole 14 years. From 12 to 26.


Jessica Breitenfeld 3:41

Yeah, yeah, I never realised that. But it was a long time just ignoring it.


Francisco Mahfuz 3:46

Okay. And, and then I remember the 30 countries, we would spend all day just talking about that. But you did fix it didn't show.


Jessica Breitenfeld 3:57

Well, the story continues as I got it fixed a couple of times. And when the most interesting thing is when I went to do of upasana, a 10 day Buddhist meditation. Okay, day one 100% of my pain disappeared from 100% of chronic pain for 15 years of my life to zero. And then as soon as though I was a Buddhist, 10 days later, the pain came back to the exact same level previous. And that give me a little hint. Now give me a big hint that it has to do with how I'm feeling in my mind and my emotions. So it is a psychosomatic back pain. Although something's broken, it can go away. And so that inspired me to go to places where anything is possible, like Brazil in the jungle, and India in the mountains and Egypt in the pyramids,


Francisco Mahfuz 4:46

or your experience with meditation and back pain seems the polar opposite of mine. As I sit down to meditate, every little bit of my body that is not hurting started hurting. So I I fully agree that that is psychosomatic as well. But that is trying to tell you that it doesn't like this meditation thing you've done instead do a lot of very different things. So let me just start by asking one that, perhaps one expertise that perhaps has come out of a lot of this travelling, which is, how does someone, not just you, but how does someone adapt to a different culture? Or what are the other the techniques, or the things you need to do to properly and quickly adapt to a different culture.


Jessica Breitenfeld 5:35

So definitely, intelligence is one of the emotional intelligence skills that everyone should be learning. And I think it's most important, because if you go to a new country, and you are angry at the way things are over there, and you don't want to take a siesta at three o'clock, then you're just going to be living with conflict and stress, essentially. So the first step to adapting to anyone or anything, is listening to it, listen to how you feel, and then accepting, no denying no repressing no accusing, just accepting this is the way it is, and I don't like it. And third step is to build to go from there, make a new decision, don't just live in that anger and that defeat acceptation or hate.


Francisco Mahfuz 6:20

And you find that because you know, you've done this, you've done this in international organisations, a lot of martial arts nationals. Is this the type of problem that that is so out in the open in a large organisation that they will actually have said, hire someone to come in and fix it?


Jessica Breitenfeld 6:37

No, no, no, they don't know they need to adapt, right? Tell anyone, hey, you need better communication skills? And they go no, no, it's their problem. They're not good listeners, that department is not so smart. Yeah, so people, often I myself, don't recognise that we're the ones that need to adjust a little bit and adapt a little bit. So I go in there with different topics. So public speaking, or confidence or cultural negotiation. And that is the topic but beneath it is the method, which as you know, as a trainer, that's kind of a little secret. Sometimes, we give them what they what they need, because they don't exactly know it. Sometimes they just know what the benefit they want. And we know how to do that. Right?


Francisco Mahfuz 7:20

It's one of the biggest challenges of working in communication. And again, perhaps the second challenge of working in anything, is that, although it's such a essential life skill, almost no one is able to see how crap they are at it. I think it's, it's a bit with, like, when you're a how well you drive a car, right? You get cool, we get countries like mine, Brazil, where everybody drives, and you ask someone, are you an average driver? Are you above average, or below average? Not one person says they're below average, which


Jessica Breitenfeld 7:54

is just go, what are you what kind of


Francisco Mahfuz 7:57

below average? I failed my driving test twice. And in because I'm below average, only, it only makes sense that every time we need to have to get in a car and drive for three hours, my wife has to do it, because you know, she is the better driver. So I have to sit next to her control the music and read the book. Because otherwise I'll be endangering the family. That has to be just fine.


Jessica Breitenfeld 8:25

Yes, no meditation. No driving life is pretty good.


Francisco Mahfuz 8:30

You know, and again, you don't realise how terrible you are at this things until someone points it out to you. And I always remember this, this particular occasion where, where I was driving with a whole bunch of friends stupidly, too fast in the rain as you do. And then and then I just pulled the car to the side a bit too fast. And one of my friends said, I noticed you didn't look at your mirrors before you did that. And I said, No, it's okay. I can just about feel when there's a car. So, I think with communication, the same happens is you go into a company or you speak into to anyone that has to do presentations, or communicate for the job. They they will always think that it might be the content, that is the problem. They won't necessarily think that it is the delivery or anything our their credibility is as a communicator. So So yeah, I fully understand how someone knows what they're terrible at, to the point that they say that I have to hire a coach or a trainer to fix this particular problem is is perhaps one of the biggest challenges of working the type of thing that that we work with. Well, you touched on you touched on public speaking a while back and I know from from from knowing you from from your from your profile that you have your you've done plenty of evaluations of other speakers and you've you've won awards on it. And do how much does that trends relate to anything you do professionally. Do you notice that the same skills that that when you use that you use to evaluate a public speaker translate to the normal stuff you do when you go into a company, or at least the feedback techniques, if not the, if not the listening techniques?


Jessica Breitenfeld 10:17

Yes, it's a great point, because what kind of a skill is transferable, and we have about three or four minutes in Toastmasters to evaluate someone, good, bad, good, bad, good, good, good, bad, bad, bad, you have to also be able to do that in a professional way without hurting people's feelings, but looking like a professional who knows what they're talking about. So when I do public speaking, training, I'm very Deutsch, I'm very German and extremely direct in what's going wrong. But I got a little bit of clown in me and a big smile. So I, I balanced it out with that to make myself relatable. Because nobody will listen to someone that they don't like. So if you go in there, just hardcore, this is the way that you're wrong. I'm the expert, no one's gonna learn. So I try to I do I use improvisation skills, and make people laugh. And while they're laughing, you tell them, and it would be great if next time, you could do this, and it kind of just goes into their subconscious, in a gentle way, yet direct to their brain. So it's a good technique.


Francisco Mahfuz 11:17

This is something I don't think I don't know how good I was at feedback before I got into the whole, the whole public speaking thing. And I remember that when I was in sales, one thing I was always taught to do, when I was coaching other people was, Don't ever tell them anything, just ask questions until they figure it out. But you don't always have the benefit of doing that, you know, I evolved well, when if someone is well trained on what you're trying to do, and you play them a call, or you showed them a presentation and say, how was that? What could have been better there? If you train the know if you can say all we ask No, I can notice that I was doing this thing wrong, or that thing could have been better. But if they're not trained, they could watch the same video 10 times and they're not going to figure it out what they perhaps need to improve on. Although it is worth saying that this technique of asking people questions and letting them come up with the answers lends itself to a lot of fun. Because when I was managing a large team, I was to invite people into my room to give them good news, usually. And I would say, Jessica, why have I asked you in here today? And then you just don't say anything. Occasionally people don't know. And they all I'm not so sure in then until one day one guy says I was not gonna fire bomb her house. I was joking.


Jessica Breitenfeld 12:39

Oh, my God. And you knew that even before having children?


Francisco Mahfuz 12:42

Wow. Oh, yeah. Well, yes. Yes, the technique with children. Sounds very good in theory, but they never give you the answers. So there was no point in try that sort of thing, at least with a three year old. But what was I wanted to ask you with the whole evaluation feedback thing is, when you go into companies, and you see people trying this out, what would you say is the biggest mistake or the biggest thing they get wrong when trying to give feedback to every to everyone else in public speaking or otherwise?


Jessica Breitenfeld 13:13

The biggest problem that people have when giving feedback would be that they they don't see it as you as you said, and they're giving advice on very basic things, let's say and so it almost doesn't merit the time it takes to get feedback except for emotional. And you're all about telling brutally honest stories, and public speaking and so I try and train them to give evaluation based on how they felt in the audience and the emotional connections with the tone and the projection and the body language because that's what they're good at. They're humans. They can see that stuff. They might not be able to see what you and I can see from hours and years of Toastmasters but they can trust their their intuition.


Francisco Mahfuz 13:56

It's probably a good idea to just explain to someone who might be listening to this has no idea what Toastmasters Toastmasters apparently a lot of people Yeah, so Toastmasters is the world's largest public speaking organisation. And it's full of well meaning but perhaps slightly mentally addled people. Well, yes, that that went without saying. So yeah, obviously a great place to practice public speaking skills and evaluations and all of that, but, but it's it's a very different environment, then, then the real world, I would think,


Jessica Breitenfeld 14:33

people don't just clap for you when you say something stupid.


Francisco Mahfuz 14:36

I mean, I keep expecting my wife to clap for me, but it just doesn't seem to be happening. After 14 years together, I think I've given up on it. Now. It's interesting that you say that because he wouldn't have been my first answer to what people get wrong. With regards to feedback. I think the first thing that tends to come to my mind is that People think of what they don't like, or what didn't work for them. And usually phrase it that way. What they haven't done is connected is called the next step, we just say, I didn't like this, because it has this effect. When you give feedback, that's what you ideally want to try and do is say, instead of saying you move around too much, you would say, if you stand still more often, then your movement never becomes distracting. And it's easier to pay attention to, to what you're saying. They will just say, you moved around too much, and I got distracted. But you're I mean, I think that, that how people feel from whatever it is speaking or, or feedback that your boss is giving you is significantly more important than a lot of the technical, the small technical details, is just that in some cases, the small technical details are the thing that is causing people to feel in a in a funny way. But there's only so quickly you can teach anyone these things. I mean, this takes quite a bit of practice, or at least we would say that given that we've given a lot of time to this thing. But we need to amplify the difficulty of getting good at it. Right. So the other the other question I had for you was, because you have a whole bunch of unusual job titles are these descriptions of what of what your your job is? So one of them that I like to us, you are a thought surgeon?


Jessica Breitenfeld 16:29

Yes. Yeah. Ambiguous? No. Would you like to know?


Francisco Mahfuz 16:33

Well, yes, that's hence the kids bring it up? Yes.


Jessica Breitenfeld 16:38

I just thought you want to say, Oh, great, how creative I understand the totally, which means it's not working how I want it to work? Well, yeah,


Francisco Mahfuz 16:45

I can, I can just about guess what you mean. But you know, helping plenty of pickles by guessing what people meant to be asking.


Jessica Breitenfeld 16:55

So I've studied Gestalt psychotherapy for three years, which means I've done 600 hours of group therapy, which means essentially, going into your brain and your heart and pulling out every idea you have about a life, men and food and looking at it, crying about it, laughing about it, and then putting it back in, but a little bit different. So what I help people to do now is to figure out their patterns. Why do they pick the men they do? Why do they pick the kind of jobs they do? And why are they unhappy when they they go into a certain kind of party? Is it not their kind of people, but they're too insecure to stand up for what they really want their partner? Do they keep dating poor guys, this stuff comes from our patterns. And if you don't look at the patterns, you can't figure out who you are. So I'm gonna help you open that up.


Francisco Mahfuz 17:45

Okay. Yeah, 600 hours of therapy. It does not sound like the most appealing activity I could ever,


Jessica Breitenfeld 17:55

but what are the benefits, the benefits of the surgery?


Francisco Mahfuz 18:00

Well, as you know, I tend to see a lot of the public speaking and writing and all of the stuff that goes along with that as my own personal therapy, at least in the sense of, like a lot of people, I guess, I make more sense of things after I write them down. So when I have something that is either bothering me or that I'm thinking about constantly, the act of writing it in a way that is concise and can be explained to other people. And ideally, you know, funny or poignant or whatever, I'm going for identifying that doing that. And then the practice of it, which involves, you know, constant repetition of the of that idea. And then presenting, the whole thing for me works in a very therapeutic way. Because when there's so much repetition that is salted on Nesta sizes you to whatever pain you are discussing, and in there is something cathartic about doing it in front of other people and and I tend to find that obviously doesn't resort doesn't solve my problems, but it tends to at least get a tiny bit of sense of closure, even if it's a sense of okay, I know how I feel about this now. And I don't need to revisit that. For the time being. Now I'm not so sure. The benefits of the people watching provide me perhaps less therapeutic and more just pure entertainment. But what


Jessica Breitenfeld 19:27

is your journal? No, your therapist is your structure. It helps you reframe, rethink about what you thought before and you come up with a different structure or a different idea.


Francisco Mahfuz 19:37

So yeah, and there is this there is this some slightly artificial thing that is very common to public speaking, not necessarily common to storytelling, which is always trying to find some type of moral of the story, but also sometimes trying to find something that relates to other people and maybe a call to action of some kind and I I don't actually should attempt to do that as often if it's a very emotional speech that I'm doing. But it forces me to try and make sense of it in a way that is not just this happening. And this happened, and this is how we feel. And again, sometimes you have to stretch, the reality is likely to put it in some sort of frame that makes sense to other people. But But I found it helpful when when I've done that with things that were generally things that were in my head all the time, I found that I felt better about it afterwards. So so there's that that's my public, my public speaking therapy.


Jessica Breitenfeld 20:39

Well, that's the take home message, right from school, it's like, you want the audience to have one clear message. And if you aren't clear about why you are speaking, why you're passionate about this, the audience leaves going I it was nice, it was funny, I learned about Francesco, his wife and his kids, but I don't know what I'm supposed to take away. But if you structure well, and you're clear about what you're going to talk about, that is essentially what therapy does, it helps you get clear on why you do the things you do.


Francisco Mahfuz 21:06

Yeah, there's there was one other aspect of it, which I you know, I did talk about that to a reasonable extent in the book, which was, I was trying to figure out, if I thought there was any value in sharing things, where you were very vulnerable, without necessarily having a very clear sense of closure, or this is the last one that you should take from it. And my conclusion was that there is value in doing it. And the value is that when you go up in front of 3040 people or hundreds of people, and you and you open yourself up that way, what you are showing is see it's okay to feel this things. It's okay to be vulnerable. You don't always have to pretend that everything is perfect, and everything is great. And even if my situation has nothing at all to do with yours. What I felt when I've seen people do that is oh, it's alright, that I screw up all the time, or it's all right, that in this particular area of my life, I feel like a failure. It's okay. Nothing terrible is happening. The moment you put that out, there actually seems to be the opposite people come to you and go, Wow, that was really brave. No one tends to think less of you. Because you made yourself look, you know, weak in inverted commas. This seems to be the opposite. Right? So, and I thought this was an incredible insight, until someone pointed me to Brene Brown. Yes. And I was like, damn it. So when I got there first


Jessica Breitenfeld 22:40

here than her so you got a whole new take on it?


Francisco Mahfuz 22:43

Yes, yes. I, I think that if I pre introduce myself as the funny Brene, Brown, the doors in the wallet to just open.


Jessica Breitenfeld 22:55

Or people will just start crying and telling you their story. And you become their therapist.


Francisco Mahfuz 22:59

Yes, yes. And I think that anyone that watches me speak or reads all the nonsense I post on LinkedIn, or you know, knows me will know that I am not really the person that you should be getting life advice from? No, you don't need to be so quick to agree to that.


Jessica Breitenfeld 23:21

LinkedIn every day, and I laugh every day, and I enjoy it very much. And no, fire me in different ways.


Francisco Mahfuz 23:30

Well, you know that there's that I'll take what I can get. Right following on to the, to the list of perhaps strange things that that that you have on your description of work. There is a term that I found, which was cultural storytelling. As I've come across storytelling before, I've read at least one or two books called storytelling. But I've never seen that have been put together with a world word cultural in any anytime before. So what does that come from?


Jessica Breitenfeld 24:02

Having been to 45 countries I had, and I didn't speak any of the languages. I had to adapt to them. And so I realised that being able to communicate with the body and the micro movements on the face, so essentially, communicating your emotions are the most important things when speaking in public. Of course, that's what I trained in. I trained how to speak in public, and for cultures that are very, very different than their colleagues in other countries, they have to be aware of the differences when they're speaking. I guess it's kind of a fancy way to say that there are so many things below the iceberg that you do not realise that you could be doing to offend, distract, or just turn off your audience and it's cultural. It's not just a human public speaking course. It's about the eye contact. It's about, though, who enters the room first, who do you address first? If you mentioned this, if you're too vulnerable, people don't want to do work with you. Especially In Japan, you know, there's the high context, low context. And so it becomes a bigger stakes game, if you don't understand cultural differences. When pitching,


Francisco Mahfuz 25:08

I would imagine that my approach to public speaking on life might not go down a treat in Japan. Yeah, no, I fully see where you're coming from that, you know, it's true. And, and I think that that could be very easily a mistake that that we make, which is that we assume that some of these things are universal, because, you know, we're all humans, and this is sort of become a buzzword these days, the whole human thing, be more human and whatever. But, you know, there's humans and humans. And as, as I noticed, by the first few trolls, I started getting on LinkedIn, some new ones are very different than ours. So I think it will be slightly hubristic to assume that just because some things are universal, that culture is not going to have a massive impact and not affect dramatically how you how you come across to come across different people, particularly if the culture is, is a very different one than the one


Jessica Breitenfeld 26:09

example, you have a small example of cultural storytelling. And it just has. Imagine I have some friends in India, because I lived there for seven months. And a lot of these colleagues, they call me a simple girl. And the first couple times I heard it, I was insulted because in Canadian, English, and Canadian English, if you call someone simple, it's perhaps saying that they have a learning disability, or they're just the girl next door, that is very boring. And I questioned a few of these guys. And they said, no, no, it means Nice, very nice. And I was like, Well, how how interesting. Now, if they use that word for a simple product, in their pitch, it would be completely misunderstood by North Americans and Europeans, they would not know that they it was a compliment. And as much as that language, the language and the culture, and the impressions of everything is being subconsciously transmitted to your public. And if you don't know the cultural differences, you could be losing them within the first seven seconds, because you looked or put your hand out or bowed the wrong way. Yeah, and


Francisco Mahfuz 27:09

I guess that if you look at how some things are perceived in even Western cultures, they're drastically different. I mean, for example, I have a very good friend who lives in in the Netherlands. And he always goes on about how blunt the Dutch are. And he finds it incredibly amusing because they just have no, no tolerance for bullshit whatsoever. They'll just stare you to your face, whatever, whatever they thinking. And even something simpler than that, like, for example, you look at American work culture, or North American workers should say, it's just completely different than what it is in Spain, right? You know, just did what the Spanish feel about their holidays, it would be considered would probably be looked down upon in the, in the United States, or things like drinking, you know, we both live in Barcelona, it's the most normal thing in the world to have a glass of wine, with lunch. And I think in in most places have not even only data sets, but in the UK, if you having a drink for lunch, people will say to be tea. No, people think this is why you're ready started, it was like no one drink. I don't start it and then continue for seven hours. I have one and I stop. But you know, again, a very different concept. Perhaps the last thing I want to go in? Because I think it will take us a bit is is that, you know, you've you've lived in all these countries, you have all these stories. And I've heard some of them. And I would imagine that a lot of these stories and these experiences filter into into what you do professionally, you will, I would expect at some point tell some of the stories or use them as examples. That's probably the case, isn't it? Of course, right? Getting better insight into my question to you. And because this is something that I find a lot of people deal with is very different. But how much deliberate thought goes into what story goes with what part in what parts of which story goes with what parts of what you're doing? Or is it more instinctive for you


Jessica Breitenfeld 29:24

telling a story is very instinctive for me, because I have so many disasters, horrible, lovely, heartbreaking stories from all those travels and all those love stories. And so many of them work in many situations. So I just stand up there and I hear a little voice that goes, tell the one where the guy never called you back and you had moved to the country for him and that's how you learned about Islam. And then I go into the story about Dr. Mustafa.


Francisco Mahfuz 29:52

I don't know I so I you and I think have a very different approach when it comes to that i i enjoy We had a conversation a while back. And I said to you that I am terrible at improvisation. And perhaps I'm exaggerating slightly. I'm not terrible compared to perhaps most civilians. But I always find that I can never express myself as well. When I improv, then when I have time to craft something in with stories to me, that's that's very much the case. So yeah, sometimes something just comes to mind. And you just tell it, like I just, you know, just told a story about me driving with my friends and sensing when a car was about here. But, but normally, what I tend to do is if I'm going to do a training, or if I'm doing a keynote speech, or anything of that kind, I always think, Okay, well, what is the what, what message do I want to convey? What's the effect that I'm trying to bring about? What story would work in that context? And what parts of that story because depending on the context, you are in, the tolerance for you telling a story might be a lot higher or lower, you know, if you're in a straight up business environment, and no one expects you to be telling stories, sometimes you don't get the benefit of the doubt for five, six minutes. So you need to you need to, I feel that you need to get to whatever you're going with that sooner. If it's between friends, you say, Listen, I've got this great story. People just refill their drinks and listen. So


Jessica Breitenfeld 31:25

again, right? Yes. And you're making me reflect that? Yeah, I do have my 20 stories that are used in the corporate world. And I have my 20 stories that I use with girlfriends sitting around having sangria. You're right, I didn't realise I do exactly what you do. So


Francisco Mahfuz 31:41

yeah, it's, I've heard an example, I think this was from Matthew Pollard, who's it was a fairly well known keynote speaker in Canada. And he, he's a example he uses is that couples, you know, when you're with someone for a while, there is an origin story. And that origin story is terrible the first time you tell it together, and it starts getting better over time. And then he's like, no, no, you tell this beat out this bit, that part is boring, let's just not tell that part. And then eventually, you end up with a crafted story that you think, you know, shows you in the best light possible. And, and I identified that, that some stories because of their nature give themselves to just being told in the most instinctive way possible. In some stories, if you don't craft them a bit, you just end up some rambling tale that never gets anywhere. And I have lots of friends who, who send me a send us a video via to the group chat or whatever. And it's them telling a story, it just goes on for like seven minutes, or like, so you want them to tell me that this happened. And then that happened, right? That should have taken for an


Jessica Breitenfeld 32:53

interesting the cultural part of that as well, because direct speech is low context, cultural value. And so although you're from Brazil, you now because you've been in international worlds, for so long, you appreciate that directness, but tell someone from Barcelona to tell the story. And it takes eight minutes and they repeat it three times. And there's nothing wrong with that in that context. But do that to a North American, they're gone. They they have no patience for that kind of thing. So storytelling, directness, what to share amount of vulnerability is really a skill that you need, if you want to start doing international business.


Francisco Mahfuz 33:27

Yeah. And I think that you can hardly emphasise that more. I mean, it's it is a skill. It I think it's a skill that people had and kind of lost because it's not typically practice is not something that gets taught pretty much anywhere unless you specifically studying marketing or presentation skills in and it is, it still baffles me to this day. How underused it is, given how obviously it works with never someone tells you a good story that stays with you for so long, and then you go about your day. And the last thing you're thinking about is I've got this client meeting coming up. What story should I tell is just not I mean, it's been drummed out of our natural way of speaking so much, that it even sounds weird to save someone, what you know, this kind of meeting what story you're telling, they will just look at you like you're insane.


Jessica Breitenfeld 34:20

I have a colleague who does narrative storytelling. And he just told me that he doesn't sell storytelling, what he calls it is my narrative. But what he calls it is very successful in Germany, his moments, tell me your moment or your experience. And that way people don't tell you a six minute story about what they ate for lunch. They really just tell you a moment. I felt unhappy because again, I chose the pizza when I know I'm on a diet and I should lose five pounds and I'm a little disappointed in myself. And there you go. You have a quicker because it's just a moment. So maybe it's even the language of storytelling that intimidates people. Perhaps we can simplify the language for people so that we are more apt to sharing our experiences and our feelings, which is the heart of a good story anyway, the reactions, right?


Francisco Mahfuz 35:06

Yeah. And I think that what your friend is doing, I've seen other people do, for example, the way I've explained to some people stories, you know what, what makes up a story is before, you know, before things were normal, something happened. And after things were different, right? So you just need to tell me enough about the before. So I know what the baseline is, then tell me what brought about the change, and then tell me how things were different afterwards. And, and I've seen Kyndra Hall, for example, with a top keynote speaker and storytelling she calls. One of her elements of a story is the moment and she says, you know, that moment, that's where you want all the richness of detail. And you know that that moment when the thing happen, is, is the one thing that a story revolves around, then the rest just needs to be enough so that you can see the contrast. And I think if you're using if you're using storytelling in advertising, then it has to be the sort of super condensed format, because all you're showing is someone who's upset, and maybe they saw product and they're happy. Right. It's the crudest form of a story. But it's still using the same principles. But yeah, but But even so, I mean, I think it's just just how little we do it, as a matter of fact, is something that, again, it's good that it's not more obvious, because perhaps I'll have less of a job if everybody knew how to do it, and he's doing it well. But you know,


Jessica Breitenfeld 36:32

what you have Francesco, I'm just thinking that there's a beautiful, there's a talent that you have, which is your humour. And if you all you have to do is show the beginning. And then where the change happened. You could use the rule of three for the humour, right, so sad, lonely eating donuts, and then I took Francesca's course, or I went on Tinder, and I became sexually fulfilled, lost weight and ate only carrots. My mom, you know, you could do it really short and concise and add humour. I think I might start doing that.


Francisco Mahfuz 37:04

Yes, I am. I had two or three jokes about a sexually fulfilled but I don't think I'm gonna attach that just now. On that note, I think this was fantastic. Jessica, thank you very much for for your time today. And we people want to find you what's the best place to do so finding Canada


Jessica Breitenfeld 37:26

in the woods, where I'm hiding out from COVID or on LinkedIn might be a little bit easier.


Francisco Mahfuz 37:33

Alright, everybody, thanks for tuning in. Stay safe for the time being stay home, and until next time,



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