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  • Francisco Mahfuz

E50. The Story Behind 50 (!!) Episodes of The Storypowers Podcast



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 of people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, keynote speaker and storytelling coach Francisco mahfuz. Normally, this is a show where I interview storytellers, professional speakers, marketing and branding experts. In essence, anyone who tells stories professionally, in who understands the power stories have to connect and get their message across. But this is episode number 50. And I thought it would be an interesting idea to to give you a peek behind the curtain, to you know, take you behind the scenes and show you how the sausage is made and what the journey to 50 episodes has been so far. So for the next 1520 minutes or so, it's just me, I hope you enjoy


50 episodes, it's it's flown by really, I mean, I've only been doing this for seven months, eight months. And I might have gotten a bit overzealous with putting episodes out right at the beginning, I accumulated a few too many of them waiting for the artwork for the other podcast to be ready. And then I was putting them out every you know, two or three episodes a week, we just just demanded. I mean, there was no way I was ever going to be able to keep that up. But but here we are, you know, have settled into the, into the weekly routine. And one of the things I wanted to do in this in this shorter solo episode, I think is the very first solo episode I've done both from a story I told right at the beginning, was to just run through some of the things I found about doing a podcast that have been very unexpected to some extent. When I when I started the podcast, obviously, I had some idea that there was a branding and a marketing element to them, you know, you, you put your name out there, it's easy to be seen as, as more of an expert in your field, if you've created all this content if you're associated with all these people that have been doing this for longer. But what I hadn't quite realised is how powerful this would be as a learning tool. Because what a lot of podcasters do is they invite the guests on and they say so you now an expert in storytelling, how did that happen? In the guest will just tell you their story. And that's all nice and good. I'm all for stories. But every single interview you hear of most people takes that format. And if that's what you want, great, there's there's hundreds, if not 1000s of podcasts out there already. But how I built this with Guy Ross is already doing it and is doing it better than perhaps anyone is ever going to do. So what am I going to get out of having get all this trouble to get a guest on? And that asked them the exact same questions that they're asked by anyone else. So I wouldn't learn anything, then the guests would be kind of annoyed. This would feel a bit like work because you know, it's what they always do. And more importantly, it wouldn't actually do anything for the podcast. So this is something I I didn't really know in the beginning, but it's pretty obvious now is you can get the most famous guests within your industry. And they might have very big social networks. But that doesn't mean that that's going to rub off on you. And sure if you're getting Matthew McConaughey on your podcast, then yeah, maybe that's gonna get a lot more people to listen to it. But I know people that have managed to get someone like Seth golden on and Seth Godin is as big as it gets in the marketing space. And that doesn't mean that those people now have a thriving massively profitable podcast downloaded by 1000s and 1000s of people So that doesn't really make sense. I didn't know that. But all I knew was, as I started preparing for interviews, I just realised that I don't want to repeat the same questions. So I've heard the guests say something. But to me, there were some loose, some, some loose ends there, I didn't quite get the whole of the story or the whole of the guests knowledge about something. So what I wanted to do is say, you've said this, in this other podcast or in your book, but I wanted to ask you a bit more about it. And what I started finding was that guests really, really enjoyed that. I got it first I think this might have been from, from Brian Miller, he was episode number eight, or nine. And he was probably to blame for this because I read his book. And he talked about how he got asked the same questions over and over and had to tell the same stories over and over and I said, I'm going to do something different. I'm going to I'm going to impress this guy, and I'm going to ask him something different. And he was so appreciative of it, that I just thought, Okay, well, there's something in here, maybe this is something I need to be doing for every guest that I speak to. And slowly, but surely, it is what I started doing. I started researching as much as I could buy gear from each guest. So you know, read their books, were huge, takes a lot of time, but you know, I read like a maniac anyway, so I'm just reading that instead of whatever else or, you know, whatever zombie book, I would be reading, and I read the books, or listen to them in other podcasts, or listen to their own podcasts or watch videos. And once I had a couple of pages of questions on top of the usual stuff, they usually ask, and I found some bizarre thing to start the show with, then I would feel ready for the conversation. And this is another interesting point. Anyone who's listened to the original episodes, knows that what I was always trying to do in the introduction is be funny with the with the way I asked people to, to give me a rating or a review, or subscribe to the show. And that, you know, stopped being funded for me very early on, I didn't I don't know, maybe 10 episodes, and realised okay, this is not to say there's no future here. And then I probably was, I had a guest coming up and I found something funny in my preparation. I said, Okay, I'm going to try and sort of crack a joke here right at the beginning. And if I get a laugh, that's great. If I don't, that's fine. I have I have questions to get started. So it's just not going to get awkward. And I can always edit out the silence If I have to. And that just started working so well. I in that became a thing I do. And it's probably I'm going to probably have to start editing those bits, the reaction from the guest out because I think our listeners will start getting bored of hearing me say, oh, that's hearing the gas, say, Oh, this was the best introduction I've ever gotten in me sort of explaining yours. You know, I didn't make an effort to try and make that happen. But that is there is a game changer. That has been a game changer for me. Because I get people laughing straightaway, which breaks the ice. And this is important. I don't do any warm up calls with my guests. There is no, there is no you know, 1015 minute call before to see if we are a fit. If we have stuff to talk about. Often I reach out to them on social media or by email and say, you know, this is my podcast, I would love to have you on because of this. And that reason that when they accept that's it, the show starts I say to them, okay, great. Listen, I'm going to go through the intro. I'm going to say this things and as soon as I say, you know, John Smith, welcome to the show, then you're on in at the end, please just hang on the line so I can get the recordings through. That said, there is no chit chat. Why my conversations with the guests, you are getting them in full, or pretty much in full on the recording. And what I found that That intro was that, you know, broke the ice that, you know, we all relaxed, but it also sent sent a very clear message to the guests, which was this guy hasn't just use the, you know, the potted bio that I sent him by email. This guy has done enough research to find this one thing about me. So I think this is going to be a slightly different interview than what I'm used to. And what I've what I've also found and I had guests tell me and I had a lot of listeners tell me is that it sounds like a conversation between friends in there was not necessary. Sara Lee the goal when I started this, but what I've found out is that the reason friendly enough conversations between friends are so are so natural and so comfortable is because of how much we know each other. You know, we know all these things about each other. So there's all sorts of inside stories we can refer to, we can call back to different things we know about each other's lives. So not everything is is, well, I have children, have you got any children, we know those things already. So what I found is that by doing all that research, I know enough about them that I can say, you know, when you know you live in Kentucky, or I know that you moved from this place to that place, or I know that your children are this age that you like Le mcbeal that you are you hate this type of music. And all of those things just mean that we the guests in me, we all feel in familiar ground. And I think that's one of the reasons why I've built relationships with a lot of the guests, I've had lots of them tell me, at the end of the show that this is one of the the best is a bit of a strong word, but a lot of them will say, you know, it's one of the most fun interviews or podcasts I've ever been on. And some will talk about how professional I am, which I think is the opposite of professional in many ways. But it is true that I take this conversations seriously. And this is something else I found about how much of how much value the podcast has. And a lot of these people that I'm speaking to are the you know, the absolute experts in their field, or head pose Zach on Prozac might be the most quoted scientist, when it comes to storytelling. And I had him on for for over an hour on my show, we really hit it off, I found out all sorts of things about him that I would never have guessed about how he's visited Brazil, and all sorts of things like that. And, you know, not only I got a full hour with this guy to ask him whatever I wanted, but he put me in contact with a lot of very impressive people without me even asking, and how else would I ever have had this opportunity to network with people of this calibre, because even even if I am at that level in my career, and I'm not, I'm not going to meet Paul Zak after an event in get a full hour of his undivided attention. We know we'll have a drink, we'll talk for 1520 minutes, we'll find some commonalities, and we'll try and find the time to talk again. And maybe we'll never get it, and it will never be this much time. So I've found that if if the podcast had no listeners, it never did anything for me financially, from a branding or a marketing point of view. Just opportunity to meet these people and get this much time from them. That alone is more than enough, all the effort that goes into it. But you know, the fact that it is fun, that I do have some listeners that I have, it has helped me a lot when it comes to branding and marketing, those those are all great. And maybe one day I'll start talking more about the services I provide and how I actually help companies and individuals and all of that. And that can become a very interesting source of business. But if nothing else, I the opportunities I've had to meet people and learn from them and build relationships and create a very impressive network. That alone is worth having done this for. That's more than enough talk about, you know what I've gotten out of the podcast so far. I thought it was interesting to have people see the the background of that. But what I also wanted to talk about is where I see the show going, because now this would be episode number 50. And what I want to start doing more is slowly but surely start bringing some people in that are not necessarily the storytelling experts that I've had so far. I mean, I'm I'm going to continue doing that. I think there's plenty of different angles. I haven't covered. There's plenty of interesting people that I haven't talked about. But what I also want to do is start getting people within the companies that actually have used this or realise they need to use it. So you know, I want to talk to two more founders. I want to talk to entrepreneurs. I want to talk to the people that in a way have seen the light and have used storytelling either because I help them or because someone else helped them, and and what difference that makes, and there's no shortage of those people out there. I mean, there's a lot of very large companies that have embraced storytelling internally. And and those people I think would be a very interesting, very interesting target for, for me to start reaching out to, because they will give a very different angle to to the approach that we're talking about, because it's easy to find someone who can tell you about how great storytelling is for for speakers, or for anyone that has to present. But it's perhaps less common to find someone deep within the corporate world, who says, yes, we've been giving PowerPoint presentations for four years. And then we did the storytelling thing. And this is how much it changed our company. So that's one of the things I want to start doing more. I obviously quite curious to see what the reaction for this solo episode is. If people like it, maybe I can explore that, that format a bit more, maybe with q&a s, maybe with with stories, although with stories, I I must admit that the reason I haven't done more of those on the show is one because i i tend to tell plenty of stories during the interviews as it is. And also because I find it a bit strange to give a story without an audience. And obviously, I can do it. I put videos out all the time with with me telling stories. But I find it I don't, that's not my ideal way of telling a story, a story needs an audience. And I found it a bit clinical, to do it without any type of audience or reaction or anything like that. And when I tried it in audio format, and on video, I didn't really love it. So I thought maybe Maybe I'll come back to this, maybe I won't. But but the solo episode, maybe there's some, there's some lags in that. What I can do is I can focus on specific areas, specific aspects of storytelling, put some of these knowledge together in more of a tactical format. But, but I don't know, I'm keen to find out more feedback from other people. And if if they think that this is something they would like to listen to, then I'm more than happy to do that.


And I think that's more than enough time for just me talking in your ear. If you've if this is the first episode you ever hear a lot of this stuff probably made no sense to you, I would very much suggest that you go back to any of the previous 49 episodes and give them a listen. But if you've been with me for a while, I just want to say that I really appreciate that you choose to give me about an hour of your time, every week or so. I mean, I'm a big podcast listener, I realise how many podcasts that are out there to listen to. And the fact that this thing that I'm doing with with a lot of time and effort and love is connecting to some people means a lot to me. And and if you are one of those people, then I'm not going to ask you as I ask every at every episode for people to you know, subscribe, and rate and review, those things are great. And those things help. But what I would strongly encourage you to do is reach out, because as much as all the other stuff is is useful for the podcast, what I really care about is that this makes a difference to people that they they can feel inspired by, by by it, they can learn from it, they can apply some of this stuff, to to their life into the work and actually start realising the power of stories, and why they should should be telling stories to so so that's it 50 episodes, I think that this is just the first 50 I know that there's plenty of monitor come with with this show. And I really appreciate you guys. I really enjoy having you as an audience. And as I always say, Alright, everyone. Thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves, and until next time.


I hope you enjoy the show. And if you did, I'd love for you to subscribe and leave us a review or a rating on the Apple podcasts app. It's very easy. You open the app and find the show and scroll down a little and when you see the stars tab. I'd really appreciate it and it does help other people find this. And if you'd like to get in touch or find out more about what I do, reach out to me on LinkedIn or visit my website story powers.com



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