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  • Writer's pictureFrancisco Mahfuz

E83. How Storytelling Turns Followers into Clients with Darren Gibb

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 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 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 that people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, keynote speaker and storytelling coach Francisco mahfuz. My guest today is Darrin Gibbs. Darrin has a full head of hair in exotic accent, years of experience as an English teacher, and a passion for storytelling and presentation skills. In other words, he's essentially me if I could actually grow a beard. For whereas my focus has been one of the speaking side of things there and spends much of his time helping coaches and solopreneurs turn followers into clients through advanced LinkedIn strategies, which include storytelling is also one of the nicest people I've met online. And that's even considering his dubious preference for pulling Blue Steel faces all over his social media content. Ladies and gentlemen, very good. Darrin, welcome to the show.

Darren Gibb 1:53

Thank you for having me, Francisco. How are you my friend? Do you Well,

Francisco Mahfuz 1:56

I am alright, I'm alright. We do need to sort out those blue steel faces, man. Do you know what I'm talking about? And I say blue steel

Darren Gibb 2:03

that you've mentioned it before and as a movie reference, but I'm not a great movie buff. Is

Francisco Mahfuz 2:09

it Zoolander. It's the one where he is a male model. He only has one face, which is sort of Yeah, exactly. That's crunch the mouth face. He was famous for his advertising for I think a perfume brand called Blue Steel or something like that. And he famously could only turn right on the catwalk that the whole thing about is like he could never turn left. And I remember for years and years after my, some of my friends in London, were obsessed with that movie. And every time we were taking group pictures, someone would shout Busuu. And everybody would make a face and like pose, we had two pictures of every picture. One was like everybody's smiling. The other one was blue steel. And that is that is very much the face you have on your banner. It's kind of like an intense face with the mouth. So not sure if you're looking angry, or you're trying to look cool or good looking a little bit of both right? I'll leave it to the audience to decide if you succeeded at any of those things.

Darren Gibb 3:06

Well, I think it's because during the pandemic, like everyone was eating rubbish, right, and I started to have a slightly fuller figure. And I remember me reading in a magazine years ago, if you paint the insides of your cheeks, you have a thinner profile. So I think that's just what I'm actually an idea pool, the smoky sacks, as you know,

Francisco Mahfuz 3:25

yes. Let's pretend that that's exactly what was happening there.

Darren Gibb 3:29

It definitely is. But I have these cool colours. Definitely. Yes. So this is something I

Francisco Mahfuz 3:33

don't normally do, I don't normally have a great deal of interest in going into people's backstories to figure out how they got here. Because I think it's usually boring. And you've heard that a million times through podcasts or other appearances they've had but as we discussed before, this you haven't done a tonne of podcasts and media appearances. So one thing about your backstory that I wanted to just understand a little bit better is how did you make this jump that I know other people have made too, which is going from English classes, to more the presentation skills, storytelling side of things, because my I was an English teacher when I was in my, you know, my teens, right? So I did it for I think three years. So there's, there's a good two decades between me doing that and doing anything to do with presentation skills of storytelling, but your move was a lot faster. So how the hell did that happen?

Darren Gibb 4:26

Yeah, so I was qualified high school English teacher is my long backstory like yourself, and I'm physical. And I know we have slightly differing opinions, but my undergraduate was English literature. So stories have always been something I immersed myself in as a young person through my teens into adulthood and everything like this, the teaching side, I mean, teaching a class of 30 kids who don't want to be there. Don't want to learn and don't give a damn about your subject. Presentation skills present in hours. Your teachers, there's an element of acting within teaching, you know, I'm certainly I always give myself I felt I was authentic when I was teaching, but I couldn't be their friend. You know, when teachers tried to be teenagers, friends, you run into a whole baggage of problems. So I really felt it was a case of, you know, as me turned up to 11. And I think, whether it be giving presentations, or videos and things like this, it's just that slight little notch up. And I felt it was really storytelling, whether it be through English literature, but especially, you know, why is Romeo and Juliet still read and still performed and wash today by Shakespeare space or Vantis? Simple, it's the themes that remain true, right? love, hate, jealousy, betrayal, all the things that we experience every single night, every single day. But we all can empathise and understand within our daily lives. These are the themes that keep it real. So for me when it was through, you're working with young people it was it was elements of storytelling I was using to really my life to the characters. And so for me, it was quite a natural transition into going into presentation and storytelling skills. You've got to be able to hold an audience, right? If it's a class of 30 pubescent kids, you've got to be able to hold their attention for 60 minutes, 120 minutes. How do you do that through different kinds of activities, or through different sections phases of the lesson we go through. And for me, there is always a lot of storytelling involved, because I feel I was teaching and there's literature, but then into that actual presenting myself in front of a class. So that was really the transition that went in there.

Francisco Mahfuz 6:36

Two things first, you said love jealousy and betrayal or not emotions, we feel everyday you are not married or you are not

Darren Gibb 6:43

married. So that's why

Francisco Mahfuz 6:46

yes, yes,

Darren Gibb 6:47

you're a long suffering wife, Frankie sky feel for this lovely woman I do.

Francisco Mahfuz 6:52

The other thing was, you said how when teachers try to become teenagers, friends, that that's not a good idea. And I definitely didn't plan on sharing this. But it just came back to me as you were saying this, that when I was an English teacher, I worked a lot with teenagers. And a lot of them actually I became friendly with, there's at least one or two that after many years, we still talk, we have a friendly relationship. But one thing that happened when I was a teacher was that this was the very early days of social media. And I can't remember now if this was social media, or some sort of dating website, and I had like a secret admirer, you know, I started talking to someone, someone started talking to me.

Darren Gibb 7:38

Or someone started talking to you. And that

Francisco Mahfuz 7:41

conversation went on for months, right? So this person, she really seemed to fancy me in the conversation advanced to a certain certain point. And then eventually, I found out that he was like, one of my students, I was 17 at the time, or 18 at the time or something. But this was like a 14 year old or whatever. And as soon as it like finally became clear that it was her I'm like, Yeah, listen, this is this is not gonna happen, right? It's just like, oh, boy, it's like we get on so I was like, No, you're you're 14 you're nice to them. There's nothing good is gonna come out of this stuff. Yeah,

Darren Gibb 8:18

that's a lengthy prison spell if that goes any further for the school there's no doubt about it, brother. There's absolutely no doubt about it.

Francisco Mahfuz 8:25

Yeah. In Brazil, you might be able to get away with that. But bolsa

Darren Gibb 8:32

narrow in charge, who knows? Right? I mean, geez.

Francisco Mahfuz 8:34

Yeah, probably a better idea not to try that. Anyway, I did it. So, so good. So it's all good. Well, you

Darren Gibb 8:42

make a really good point there. Fransisco about being friendly with you're not overly friendly. It's not tender, but friendly via than a friend. And I think that's really, really important within the teaching dynamic, especially with teenagers, you know, teenagers, adolescents, whether that be boys or girls are lost in life, right? They're not old enough to go and drink in a bar, but they're usually drinking anyway. They're, they're thinking very adult things. Let's think a lot of that see a lot of the time. They've also not get the emotional intelligence or maturity a lot of the time to really reconsider these feelings and emotions, which is why I feel literature works so well with especially with teenagers, but you're being friendly. You're being approachable. You're being personable. I myself, I've got quite a few stories of teenagers who, perhaps sharing a bit too much information about their private lives, let's see, but they're doing it from the right place because we explore themes of sex and things like that within literature. If they were concerned RF for example, remember one girl she was really 16 or 17. And our boyfriend was really pressurising her into losing her virginity. Now, that's something we've covered within literature. And she finally came to me and asked what would my advice be on it? That's something when you're training to be an English teacher, you never get prepared for a talk about, but it's quite natural. And again, it's being friendly, where they know that they're in a safe space, right, you've got they've got your trust, you're not going to betray them or anything, but they're looking up to you as a role model. The only thing is, obviously, within teaching very much my belief, you've got to share that story with another trusted adult, just in case something was to happen, right. But as I think through whether it's teaching or through coaching, you know, yourself, Francisco, you work with clients, it's easier as adults to become friends. But you do your naturally, when you're working closely with people over amount of time, I had kids that I taught for years, I saw them be go grow from being 11 or 12 years old kids into proper adults, you know, and we do naturally that relationship takes place. It's not quite a friendship, but it's certainly a friendly relationship. But again, it's important that they know those barriers. With coaching, it's not quite the same, you actually are able to have that friendship. You know, I've got clients that I've worked with in the past, I'm still in contact with, amazingly with teaching, though, I'll still to this day, get the odd message saying are Mr. Gates, not sure if you remember me got one just last year, not sure if you remember me, but he taught me when I was 15. And this kid was an absolute nightmare. I'm talking throwing chairs across the classroom at teachers failing, never turning up to school, not giving a damn. But he ended up getting a B for English, which was never expected for me, he was one of my little heroes, because the other teachers, he'll never let him to being anything, he'll never be successful. So of him getting that be an English was huge, you know. And he wrote me a book 10 years later, so I'm not sure if you remember me, but I was in your class, I just want to say thank you, I never got the opportunity. I'm not sure if you remember, but my dad wasn't present during my upbringing. It was just my mom and I was a difficult kid. And your games really helped me to kind of mature into the man I am today. So that the school is one of those things you don't think about. But again, within the coaching sphere, it's what we're doing, I feel that we do help people to work on weaknesses they've got and to help progress and then their lives and career. So yeah, relationships with adults as well, right with kids is that friendly distance at an arm's length? You know,

Francisco Mahfuz 12:18

I think it's probably worth mentioning that it shouldn't be an regular occurrence when the students of any English class are checking in with their teacher what they should do about losing their virginity or not. I think that subject has too much potential to go horribly wrong. And you were talking about this particular student that was a terror. And I just remembered that I think I used to be a terror when I was taking English classes, perhaps because I was pretty decent at it. I didn't find them that challenging. And I kept just goofing around the class with my friends. And I remember being sent. I mean, this was an English course, it wasn't even school, but I got sent to like the principal of the English school more than once. And I just remember one time where we were just mucking about. And then as the teacher came into the class, I had both of my legs on top of chairs. I was leaning back back and I started shouting portables, I did some hot towels, the baby's COVID. Just like out there, like Fair enough. Great use the

Darren Gibb 13:25

present continuous tense for the front desk. I mean, come on these, you should be applauded for that. I know.

Francisco Mahfuz 13:29

So when it comes to when it comes to some of the work you do with people, particularly on LinkedIn, I want to talk about other stuff that is not just LinkedIn, but but the main question I have when it comes to, to LinkedIn, and some of the stuff you teach people is, how much is the storytelling piece, a part of it? And the reason I'm asking that is because although I don't necessarily focus just on LinkedIn, but I tend to find that there is a tendency for you know, when storytelling is, is our hammer, every post becomes becomes a story nail. And you know, and this is what I do, almost everything I do is a story. But when you're teaching people how to, you know, attract clients, and turn them into turn followers into clients on LinkedIn, what is the split there that you give them?

Darren Gibb 14:20

This really good point? I think for me, everything really, a lot of the posts that we share, you're very much story driven posts, a lot of your posts there for like 95% are very much embedded in that clear narrative arc and they're very much story based. I think for me, the reason the way that I can emote it together is that for me, every post people make on LinkedIn should have the four essential elements let's call them a storytelling, relatable character. If you're content marketing your business, you've got to be relatable to your ideal clients, as we call them, right? Specific details showing that you've got experience and you understand your niche you are understand what their pain points what their problems are, and a way that you can solve them. You've got a like Goldilocks emotion, not too much, not too little. But just enough, some posts, if your story really sharing a struggle, then of course, there's going to be elements of vulnerability within here, which for me, again, it's a really neat fundamental part of that storytelling, and that brief moment of change, or something's changed. So I always feel that these four elements should be embedded within a post. And it does not have to be an overtly narrative arc, but it should be embedded within a post. And I feel that when people understand storytelling, when they understand these elements, when they understand what Matthew decks called sticks, things like your elephant, your hourglass, your breadcrumb and so on, when they understand how to really add up and raise the stakes and create that tension, it creates a more engaging copy, right? Because LinkedIn is algorithms, a lot of it's based on dwell time, how long are people spending reading your post? Well, if you're gonna put a long post great, but you've got to make really sure that those people who are reading are actually engaged even even more so to actually engage and comment on it. You know, dwell time comments are two key characteristics of the algorithm. So for me story really, really works Plus allows the coach or the solopreneur to really connect with an audience connect with their community show a bit of their human side, connect on an emotional level and be remembered so for me that so storytelling and the LinkedIn content marketing slot together, and uh, you know, yourself, don't just go think about the majority of posts that go quote, unquote, viral on LinkedIn, their story based main themes at the end of story based so I can I just saw that connection and thought, interesting, and decided to go with it. And my clients see the difference, they see more engagement, you know, there's other strategies as well that I teach them about, they can have messaging and things like that, but story really is what wraps around it like a big warm blanket. Alright, so

Francisco Mahfuz 16:59

let me let me first of all, make it help help listeners with a translation which I think is necessary. Now when Darrin says steaks, what he means is steaks, your hex and he basically sounded like I said, what Matthew Dix called sticks is that what makes the story stick he sticks steaks with a guy his surname, or I suppose. So let's go back to the essential elements which I have a feeling kind of like mine were very much inspired slash ripped off from people like Kyndra Hall, who have also been inspired them kind of rip that off from a whole bunch of other people. For you, they are relatable character, Goldilocks emotion, which for anyone that doesn't get it reference just means not too much, not too little specific details and a brief moment of significant change. Kendra's are a character specific details a moment, and she also has emotion. So I might as I did differently, I tend to talk about a character a problem. So relatable character problem that they care about specific details and a moment in time. So one of them that I think is pretty interesting, just to define is the is a Goldilocks emotion, because that's one of the things that a lot of people don't necessarily understand when we're talking about about story. So how do you define the right amount of emotional the Goldilocks?

Darren Gibb 18:21

Yeah, it's got to be authentic. So for example, if you were really frustrated, you don't want to be humming up saying you're crying for you for hours, you wanted to kill yourself, who is me, that's too much. It's almost Shakespearean theatre, you know, shit students Shakespeare kind of over the top kind of understanding of emotion and what it means as authentic emotion. Because when you're really playing up, and you're putting too much emotion, that wasn't what you actually felt at the time, I feel it begins to create a disconnect with your audience to start to think, well, if this person's over exaggerating the emotion they felt, what other elements of the story Are they over exaggerating? So Goldilocks emotion for me as it's not too much, unless it was a really tragic, horrible event, okay, then that's fine, but authentic, genuine emotion, that is just not too much, not too little, just the right amount. And again, vulnerability for me, I think really comes into that if we're able to show vulnerability, awesome. But again, we don't create the vulnerability for the sake of creating vulnerability, we've still got to be that relatable character, and people are being over the top with that, I just feel it creates that disconnect. So for me that's what Goldilocks emotion entails.

Francisco Mahfuz 19:35

But it would be a complete take here, but since you're both English teachers, I think of entitled to do that. Can you under exaggerate, yeah, absolutely. Of course, you can under exaggerate. Make sense. Then, of course, you can under exaggerated, over exaggerated and the next lecture.

Darren Gibb 19:53

Of course, you can, if you can over exaggerate, you can under exaggerate come on from these golf balls. So you can overpass underpass

Francisco Mahfuz 20:03

in the word exaggerate, it's doing something more than it calls for or that instead I always know Patricia when is she says stuff like, Yeah, I think I'm gonna have to repeat that again. I was like, Oh, we're gonna have to repeat it again. It's no surprise that you see the value of emotion and struggle in stories. You know, you are a Scottish person who likes football. Struggle. Yeah. Is Jericho is is absolutely baked in

Darren Gibb 20:39

and RYOBI akan ofan as well. Fransisco? So is that the game where cumin lost his job? Darnay ago. So the brief moment of light in that field, I have been a Sofia season ticket holder for seven years. So I've seen quite a bit of pain and heartache. They remember your cause. So yeah, I know struggle and pain being a Scottish football fan. Absolutely.

Francisco Mahfuz 21:01

So if I understand it correctly, your contention is that as long as you use the four story elements, or as many of the story elements as you can, when you putting a post together, then you should get most of the benefits of of a story. Now, that is not I mean, that's not a groundbreaking premise. That's something that the conversation I had with Kendall Haven, we talked about that. And for anyone who doesn't know, Kendall Haven is whenever people talk about the science of storytelling, they're really only talking about a couple of people. One of them is Dr. Paul Zak, who found out all the hormones. And almost everything else we know about storytelling comes from the experiments Kendall Haven was involved with. So he was like the storyteller in the room telling stories that are in then the scientists were analysing what happened in people's brains. And he talks about the elements as well, he has eight different elements, which to my mind kind of overlap, although he should be dealt very fast if I said that, but his argument is the same as you want to have the elements of a story to get the benefits of a story. Now, there's a lot of people who don't necessarily agree with that the guys from anecdotes that I often talk about, they argue that if it's a story, it gets all the benefits of a story. If it's not an actual story, then there's always a risk of you doing all this work, and you putting all these things in, but it's not going to necessarily get the same benefits of a story. Now, I don't want to go into that, because I don't think we have the we don't have the evidence to back up either claim. But my question is simpler. I think why the elements of a story and not a story, for example. So this is something it's a bit of a pet peeve that I have with people on LinkedIn is that a lot of people have storyteller in their in the description, right, which I would never have storyteller in my job description by description there. But a lot of people have storyteller in the description. And a lot of people have something about stories or storytelling, but then you go through their content, and very little of their content is made up of actual stories. So you know, they might have story elements in there. They might be talking about storytelling as a theoretical thing to use. But what I'm always wondering is kind of arrogantly Why are you not doing what I do all the time? You know, I put out one actual story at the very least every Monday, normally. And if I put a video out, it's almost always a story though. Sometimes it's a character sketch. But that's still kind of a story. So I'm doing between one and two stories out of three posts every single week, because I believe in storytelling. So that's, that's my question. Why story elements? So you know, something where you clearly can identify the character and the emotion, the struggle and all that stuff? And not just actually telling a story?

Darren Gibb 24:01

Yeah, I think there's, there's there's two parts here that I would break down. I think, first of all, for the people that I work with, I'm not turning them into story tellers. I'm the same as I turn them into content marketers helping them to use the story elements to create more engaging posts. The second thing and I've got this bone of contention as well, actually Fransisco is that yet storyteller? Yeah, a lot of them don't share stories and their feats. I think it comes down to two things. I think, first of all, I think I think the overarching aim, or the overarching thing is imposter syndrome. I think a lot of them like to talk the talk but aren't comfortable walking the walk, why imposter syndrome, but that idea of vulnerability. I feel that people who are unable or don't want to share their stories, as quite often they don't want to show that vulnerability perhaps there they're not comfortable doing it. Perhaps they don't know they don't have the tools to do it to do it successfully. But that's my feeling. So elements of story that guards to Content Marketing So I mean, as I know you do, I'll work on an origin story with someone, that becomes a bit of content, of course. But it also helps when they go into a sales call discovery call, whatever you want to call it, you know, you want to open up that call with them talking about themselves. And then you segue into your origin story. And it builds up that trust all the good things about story. But for me, a lot of my clients, I don't feel that they want to be doing story adverse stories, again, it comes down to elements of imposter syndrome, vulnerability, and so on. If they're able to get these elements and to create content using them, they then are empowered to create their own stories. And they may start I've got one client who's posting stories all the time, they're absolutely on board with it, others aren't. So it's really down to that comfortable, they're comfortable nature of how they feel about her, right, because of the four story elements that we spoken about. But for me, it's important to also keep keep some sort of narrative arc in mind, you know, there's certainly when we've got a moment of change, there's change in there. So it's going towards that story, a route going towards a kind of climax or a competition or a turning point, right. But otherwise, I think we really risk just telling anecdotes and anecdotes. Yeah, they're nice. But I think a lot of people who will say I use storytelling, I love it. When I hear those stories. I'm not convinced the stories I feel they're just a recalling of a sequence of events that happened to them. And there's no kind of transformative change or element within what's happened to them, that that value they're giving those who are listening. And I think that's for storytelling, that Francesca, let's be honest, it's a buzzword at the moment, right? It's like personal branding was 510 years ago, there's a big buzz around storytelling. It's great, because people are no conscious and aware of it and want to know more about it. But I also feel that there's quite a few charlatans about who like you say storyteller, I love telling stories. And we never see any stories from them. So that's my personal feeling.

Francisco Mahfuz 27:01

Yeah, I think the problem is that it's, it's become a buzzword, because most people just talk about doing it, but don't actually do it. So I don't know. I think I have doubts about my doubts about that approach with this. I think it's substantially harder for most people to become consistently good writers, you know, writing is not easy. putting something together a speech, a post, whatever it might be, that hits all the right notes. That is hard. I mean, I did speech writing for a very long time. My speeches weren't always story based. Actually, most of them weren't story based. And that was really hard.

Darren Gibb 27:46

Why not Francisco? Why? No. Why?

Francisco Mahfuz 27:49

Because I hadn't had the epiphany yet. So what happened was, and I've shared this before, but what happened was, for years, I did storytelling, I competed, I want some stuff. And without realising the stuff, the speeches that weren't anything, were always stories, but I never thought was like, Oh, I'm gonna do it. You know, I'm gonna, I'm storytelling. I didn't think of it that way. And then I remember there was a competition, where it was kind of a humorous competition. And I had one speech that I thought would be would be able to win it. And I had been practising the thing for a couple, two, three weeks. And then two nights before the the actual competition, I got an email from the organiser, saying, you know, the competition is Saturday, everybody, hope everybody's ready. Remember, your speeches have a maximum of five minutes. And I'm like, Hold on five minutes. I thought about seven minutes. And then I was like, oh, what can I cut and I couldn't find like, there's no way to cut down that speech from seven to five minutes. And and I thought I was about to write the email cancelling. It's like, well, I'm I can compete them. And then I thought, what if I maybe, I don't know, just told that story that I've been meaning to tell for a bit about Mona was with Patricia in Tuscany, and she lost her keys, and I only found the keys by kind of, like, looking for the smell of her pee. It was kind of like a funny story. And I was like, I mean, I can tell that story that would take me three and a half minutes to tell give or take. I add a little bit in the beginning a little bit at the end that I've got a speech and and then I just tried to see if I remember the story, I told it, like to myself three, four times. And I'm like, Yeah, remember this, like, that's it. Like, I'm just gonna add a bit an intro and a close, like with a lesson. And that was it. Like it took me maybe half an hour to practice it maybe 678 times, whereas normally took me hours and hours practising a speech. I went there, I did it, it was great fun. I actually won the competition. And I was like, what this is so much better than what I've been doing. Like why don't I just make most of it a story. And that was what I've described before as my kung fu moments. You know, a Neo in the Matrix goes, I know kung fu. And like this is it like why are we spending all this time like rehearsing things and learning them word for words? When I can just tell a story. My point here is this on The positive side, it's always easier to tell a story that actually happened to you. And then find a lesson from it a business lesson or an analogy to some other business point and share that. And I would bet that with the vast majority of people, that is going to be way more interesting than any writing more freestyle writing that they do. So on the one hand, I think that is way more powerful than trying to write something and drop story elements in it. But having said that, the challenge for most people, I think, is that it takes a long time for people to get into the habit of finding those stories. Because once you start finding them, then it becomes like, why would you ever try to write stuff from scratch when you just have all these stories that you can just tell? But but that's the thing, I think, is because most people still stuck on the I don't have any stories, then that doesn't feel like an option. Because the moment you have the stories I can write, I'm a pretty decent writer because like, I don't do posts like that anymore, because I just don't think they're as powerful I just find the story and tell the story. That's it,

Darren Gibb 31:10

I think you hit upon something really important reference discovers that we are we are story machines, you know, from the from from our earliest memories, we have stories with them, right? There's two elements that come into play, as you say, number one, people not recognise them or being able to rediscover those stories. So Matthew Dex has got his exercise first, last best worst. That's a really nice bit of divergent thinking I use it with my client

Francisco Mahfuz 31:35

is not here's by the way goes back a while it's not it's not his. But it's

Darren Gibb 31:39

it's a nice way to kind of be finding those kind of stories. And then stories are linked to just stimulate different parts of the brain, and you can rediscover those stories, as with memory don't remember things perfectly as they happen necessarily, our brains will naturally fill in the gaps that we don't quite remember. But that's not to say you're embellishing or you're lying, or you're making it up a storytellers duty is always true for me because storytelling is so powerful. When used in the wrong hands. It can be so destructive. I think if we think about popular culture of the last 567 years, 10 years, one of the biggest storytellers, Donald J. Trump, the guy told stories that absolutely changed the world as we know array now. I mean, there's so many things he was able to almost excuse himself from because he was storytelling. So many narratives that were absolute nonsense that the facts proved were wrong. But in narrative stuck, he was out relatable character giving specific details without going to Goldilocks emotion, anger about everything like that, that moment of change, we need to be lazy quite often spoke about that as well. So you know, stories are absolutely within us. I think that's, I think what you see is absolutely right, if we're going to be writers, like not everyone's a writer to be a published writer until you're a published author, yourself, Francisco,

Francisco Mahfuz 33:00

I'm a self published author. It's not the stamp of approval that used to be the past.

Darren Gibb 33:07

Got my stamp of approval, don't you worry, Francisco, but we do right. So if you want to be a writer, you've got to know you as another graduate of English literature, there are certain devices, structures, ways that we can tell stories, certain different ways that we read, in a very basic way shorter sentences to build up and create tension so on and so forth. But it's a huge thing rating, whereas we all do tell stories always amazes me watching toddlers playing together, and they're just making up stories back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Yes, we can know you've got young kids whereas when we get older, we just lose these stories. Again, I think vulnerability I think society kind of takes it out of us a bet like yourself, you know you were giving speech to just know stories because that's what you do a presentation looks like this. I have somebody on my post just last night on LinkedIn saying I've got I've seen no point in storytelling I just want to get to the fact I you know, I get tired about it. And can I have a little bit of dialogue and seeing Yeah, but you know, can I you know, the cortisol the oxytocin, the dopamine, all this sort of thing. There's a reaction going on, it becomes sticky. Yeah, but you know what I get I don't get I don't get those chemicals. I get adrenaline and it makes my skin burn. Wow, this thing can get to the point and get

Francisco Mahfuz 34:25

to the point. I think the answer to this guy's dude, I think you need to have that checked out. The last time my skin was burning. It wasn't storytelling, but something else.

Darren Gibb 34:37

Strange. And if you gave it randomly, let's just let's just go with it. So yeah, adrenaline cause you're just going to burn. Well, that's a reaction at least you're gonna remember that reaction that you heard.

Francisco Mahfuz 34:47

There was a crib for that.

Darren Gibb 34:53

You want to find out who made their skin burn and make sure everyone else knows.

Francisco Mahfuz 34:57

They're absolutely perhaps announced. Certain people, or just a different way of thinking about this is when people say, I know I don't I don't get the story thing. I don't want stories out, you know, I just care about the facts. I think my natural reaction to that is, do you care about the factor? Do you care about the theory of the facts? Because what a story should be is a reason my definition is a real life example that makes a point. So what are you talking about? I'm talking about content marketing. Okay. Your contention is that story elements are very effective. Okay, have you got a real life example? I've got a client that benefited from that. Right? Can you just tell me what happened to that client. And now you're telling me a story to prove the theory you have about content marketing and storytelling, because otherwise, you can just give me what you what a lot of people call a fact to say storytelling is very effective in content marketing. But you could also say that that's a theory with no backing up, fine. You could back that up maybe with data, right? You could say, you know, there are this many people that use storytelling in their posts, and these are the results they're getting. Yeah, that's fine. But most people don't do that. Most people are not giving you a statement of fact, and then backing that up with statistics, they're just giving you the statement. So I would argue that a story that actually happened and not making it up can be a significantly more factual way of sharing information, then a whole bunch of theories that have nothing behind them, or this nothing behind them that you're sharing with us.

Darren Gibb 36:26

I agree with you. I think there's still this idea. So I did a little bit of when I was an English teacher, I was brought storytelling into and working in the pharma industry. When I started out on LinkedIn, I was actually working with people in pharma. And there's a real feeling that Pharma is science. And this person even actually said, you know, I don't think the STEM subjects would really, really value story is kind of like, well, okay, but again, the results, I'm working with their boarding data centric presentations, when they're able to put a story in there. All of a sudden, the feedback that we're getting about the presentations are far greater than the company I was working with, they had one presentation together a year. And for the big bosses, the European bosses really easy to get promoted that way, really easy to stay where you were possibly even get demoted. If it wasn't good. Those who start using stories start being remembered. Because stories as we know, stories are sticky facts and data is earned. And to go back to your point, yeah, pulling, pulling out facts about percentage of social media stories from corporate stories, successful conversions, blah, blah, blah, no one really remembers them. But if you can tell a true story, as you see a client who was failing, started using story elements and suddenly started seeing their conversions go up. Again, that's connecting. It's always the story is always about the audience. So this person who perhaps isn't that successful on content marketing at the moment, that would relate to them? Well, yeah, okay, maybe maybe there's something in this thing, you know, so, stories of what you need us, man, we've got 50,000 plus years of storytelling and shared storytelling, and it works. I think there's a disconnect with people. I think people still think stories are what you tell your kids before they go to bed. And that's what a story is, I think stories quite often to people equate to fiction, or the nonfiction. And I think as you see, I'm very much in the same camp as you let's try and tell personal stories. Or if it's a story about someone else, that's absolutely fine. We don't hijack their story. We just tell that story from our perspective through our eyes, and we take our audience, the journey of us relating that story to them. I know you're a big fan as an internal dialogue, actually hearing thoughts, hearing conversations take place, and we can tell other stories, but they're never our story. We try and tell our own but it's always okay to relate someone else's, through your eyes, you know, little things like switching to present tense, I think that's super powerful when we're storytelling. It really takes them there at that moment, you know, we really want we really do I mean, it's one of the old fundamentals of writing using the five senses and relating it, but if we can use some within our story, and I'm not so we're friends at school, you know, there's definitely overkill or underkill overkill of sensory experience and overload under load, but definitely 15 years or sentences going with wishes.

Francisco Mahfuz 39:13

I don't think you can under under a little bit. You could probably under load I don't know if it's if it's used that way. But like you know, you can put just a few socks in the washing machine you under load that it we haven't got a tonne of time left. So I would be remiss if we didn't talk about story guru Steve, the story guru Steve is this weird character invented for for social media guests. The idea behind him is that he's kind of like the worst storyteller in the world. And you've used it in a number of posts to highlight bad storytelling practices or bad things people do when they when they think they're telling a story. Now, have you already used him in in something like corporate training and if not, do you intend to use it? cuz I can, I can imagine that it'd be a pretty genius thing to do.

Darren Gibb 40:02

It's right now at the moment, it's purely LinkedIn, it was really kind of, again, looking at content and thinking, you know, how can you be that little bit different. And obviously, you've got clades, which was obviously somewhere in the back of my mind, there's clade. And there's another guy, Matt, I can't remember his name. He's got, he's got Canada, the worst salesman in the world kind of idea is really, really good. He has little interviews with Gary Vee, and it's really, really fun.

Francisco Mahfuz 40:30

But yeah, cuz our client client wasn't really meant to be. Clyde has nothing to do storytelling. So Clyde, Clyde, in the beginning was a way for me to essentially talk about good practices of storytelling, and about, you know, using social media and connecting with clients and branding ourselves and all this type of stuff that I talked about, without just being a video of me for two minutes talking about it. So I have this weird character doing a whole bunch of silly things. And then I'm just like, now, this is not how it works, you have to be vulnerable, you have to do this have to be that, but obviously, to kind of took a life of its own, where he's like, getting into more and more crazy crap. So it's become a lot less about whatever valuable content I'm sharing in the in the video and more about what, what kind of crap Can I have Clark clay do but you know, he's already got the naked I don't think there's much left that. But anyway, yeah, so the reason I I thought about that is because it feels almost the opposite practice of something I have tried that has worked really well. And I think I copied from Marcia Shandor, who I had on the show a few months back. So what I've done in in a few workshops is I told like a two minute personal story. And I made that story as good as I could make it. And then I told my buddy was a story about almost nothing like I think was the story about my first case is the one I used as an example. And then I told the significantly more interesting story like when when my wife and I met Javier Bardem at a restaurant in Dublin, and and I told it poorly. And I just I just told it, kind of without putting the most important things in there. And then I asked people which story they liked more. And why do they think they like the first storyboard, because that's what everybody prefers. And I just imagined that they will be curving the character as much as you do in the videos would be odd, in particular, if it's in the beginning of a workshop, but I think I think people are very capable of identifying what they don't like about a story. And that might just be a much easier way to teach them what is important about the story, then to just tell them that that's what I was thinking.

Darren Gibb 42:41

No, I agree. I mean, story guru, Steve came out as Yeah, you know, Hey, man, I'm the greatest storyteller that ever lived. So

great accent, let's just be honest here. And it says kinda like there's a parody of others with storyteller in their LinkedIn bio, perhaps, that there's kind of like, you know, this this great storyteller, but never actually tells a bleeding story. And is like, Steve, Steve never really tells a story. Or if he does, he butchers it really badly. So as I think I think you're right, I actually think coming out dressed as Steve because it has a weird look that it's got. I think it's coming out of training dressed as Steven here, you guys, I think there might be something in that I wouldn't hold him back, and then going behind quickly changing Hey, who was that wacky guy could be a bit of fun,

Francisco Mahfuz 43:26

though. The problem is that that exercise will be very good. If it's a storytelling workshop, that exercise would be good in the beginning, but then you might get into trouble because like, What is this crap? Like? Why are you coming out talking like this? So you can probably just do this story badly and have people guess what's bad about it without becoming the character but you know, if it's a longer workshop and storytelling drops at some point in the middle, then then then I think it's a lot easier to become the character if you want to become a character. You wouldn't necessarily dress like him, but

Darren Gibb 43:59

I'll definitely dress like the show. I've always got the shirt and a bag just in case when he's go wherever I go. I take the story good Steve shirt

Francisco Mahfuz 44:07

as I think the truth the truth as we know is that that is your shirt.

Darren Gibb 44:14

Yeah, I have a grey honestly I feel a million dollars in nowhere that just don't do the accent Oh.

Francisco Mahfuz 44:22

You didn't buy that shirt to make that video you had that shirt. And now what might have happened is like with me and Clyde like I used to really like the shirts that I wear when I'm Clyde which is like a short sleeve hipster ish type of shirts. And and after a few videos like I can't wear it anymore. Like I just feel weird by wearing the shirt of this character. So So I started it's retired from real life. It's only a collide shirt now.

Darren Gibb 44:51

It takes a life of its own. I did a great shirt right I look cracking and I don't remember that Francesco, rotted Peter on to go one day and I'm buttoned up up and looking in the mirror. Thank you, man shitting on the work to take off and put something else on. It says I connect terrible storytelling by the greatest yet worst storyteller in the world with that, sure, and I just can't wear it anymore. I'm exactly the same, you know. Exactly the same. Clayden. Steve should swap wardrobes mix it up. You should get yourself one of those shirts. Great.

Francisco Mahfuz 45:24

Well, as it's been proven on video already, Clyde's thing is getting his clothes off. So there's not there's not much of a wardrobe it's one shirt that he wear on sufferance.

Darren Gibb 45:36

I need to be get Steve nice to get naked a bit more. I think this is really the moral of the story, no pun intended, Steve needs to be showing a bit of flesh,

Francisco Mahfuz 45:44

Our second guest doing stuff that is even crazier than that, because of someone I found out recently about so this his name is Robert Teague or tiger then I hope pronounced that. And he he is a guy who teaches storytelling. He has written like ghost written memoirs who have done really well when he does a whole bunch of other storytelling stuff. And someone recommended him to me or someone I should have on the podcast. And they said, you know, he's been recently booted off LinkedIn permanently. And you know, there was a silly thing of having used some sort of automation in the past, but then apparently nothing else he did was particularly wrong in history off the platform, apparently for good. So I read that and it terrified the life out of me because I thought, what if i What if I just push it a bit too far, someone complains I get banned or whatever, and I can't get back in. Because at the moment, a lot of my business comes out of comes out of LinkedIn. So you know, I got to know I gotten away with the fake paedophile calls from Clyde's. Yes, I also love small children. And I've gotten away with getting naked. I think that's where I should draw the line.

Darren Gibb 46:58

Some would say push it further Fransisco somebody say, boundaries, brother push boundaries?

Francisco Mahfuz 47:03

Yeah, this is just you tried to get rid of some some kind of competition friendly competition or competition nonetheless.

Darren Gibb 47:12

I said, I'm going to encourage every single storyteller out there to basically do a version of a dirty website on LinkedIn. And then see what happens is that LinkedIn are very liberal these days. Very liberal.

Francisco Mahfuz 47:24

Yeah. So that and on that note of wisdom, I would normally ask you, where do you want people to find you, but I understand you made that very easy. And the only place for them to find you is LinkedIn. So maybe you you shouldn't be getting naked. Because if the if LinkedIn pulls the plug on you, then you there'll be a lot of work to start building all the other things like a website.

Darren Gibb 47:45

I said he didn't end up seeing study guru, Steven Pornhub or something. I mean, it could be horrific. I mean, it's just not worth it for at least I need to LinkedIn. So I'm not going to go down that avenue. I think you're a keep the clothes on. It's probably a good idea. So yeah, find me on LinkedIn. Obviously. LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn, albeit LinkedIn.

Francisco Mahfuz 48:02

Perfect, man. We talk all the time, but I'm glad we did this more formally. It's good to get some of the ideas out and now for the rest of my days. I can I can annoy you about over exaggerating or under killing things.

Darren Gibb 48:16

Definitely, definitely. It's got to be less under exaggerate together for them fiscal that seems like a good start to the weekend. The under Exaggerator is great name for a band less. All else fails. Let's start a band under exaggerated where there may Alright everyone.

Francisco Mahfuz 48:31

Thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves. And until next time.

I hope you enjoyed 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 this show and scroll down a little and when you see the stars tab. I'd really appreciate it and he does help other people find us. 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

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